Have you taken the time to think about your marketing plans for the coming year?
Start the Year Off Right
It wouldn't surprise me if you haven't because you are probably in the majority. That's unfortunate. If you want to start the new year off on the right foot you need to get busy right now. Remember, once you get busy, the first thing to fall by the wayside is your marketing. I've seen it happen too many times and in fact, I've been guilty of it myself.
A Referral Based Business
The ideal real estate business is built on referrals. Ask any real estate agent if they want to have a referral based business and almost 100% of them will answer, "Yes". It would be great if we could build this referral based business overnight, but it takes time to build the experience, the trust and the referral network. We live in a society where instant gratification is expected and we want what we want. Think about it...when we want to lose weight, we want to lose it today…this week at the latest. When we want information, we Google it. When we sit down at a Mexican restaurant, we dive into the basket of chips and bowl of salsa placed before us. We don't want to wait for anything.
But there are some things that don’t come instantly and one of them is becoming a successful, profitable real estate agent. Real estate reality television shows haven't helped matters for agents or consumers. These shows have lead agents to believe that success in real estate comes quickly. In less than an hour the agent on the show can help a client buy or sell a home. Anyone who has been in the business for any length of time knows this is totally unrealistic. Needless to say, reality television has very little to do with reality. But there is good news. While being a successful real estate agent does not come instantly, it can happen with a well implemented Marketing Plan.
Let's Get Started
Since you know you need to have an annual Marketing Plan to grow your business, there's no time like the present...so let's get started on it right now.
Clean Up Your List
The first step in creating an effective Marketing Plan is also one of the most tedious tasks. You'll need to clean up your Sphere of Influence list. You should scrub your entire contact list at least once a year. Cleaning up your list means that you have the correct contact information for every person on the list and have your contacts in the proper categories. Naturally you'll want to delete any contracts you no longer want to stay in contact with. If you have a large list you will want to work on this task over the course of a few days. As I said, it can be extremely tedious, but it's a necessary evil. I have several categories for my Sphere of Influence. Below is how I define my Sphere of Influence categories.
Sphere of Influence
Let's start with your Sphere of Influence. Your sphere of influence is going to be your largest group. It's basically everyone you know in the world. Your Sphere of Influence or SOI consists of your doctors, neighbors, former colleagues, friends, family and anyone else I failed to mention. Within your SOI you'll have several sub-groups. You may or may not want to incorporate all of these contacts into your Marketing Plan so don't panic if every single person doesn't fit neatly into one of the sub-groups. The sub-groups will contain only those people you want to contact throughout the year.
Your Fan Club
My favorite group is what I call the "I Love Candy Fan Club". Before you think my ego is the size of the Empire State Building let me explain. All of you have a "Fan Club". You may not define it as such, but you do have a Fan Club. Your Fan Club could consist of one person or it could be 100 people. But your Fan Club members are those people you love, love, love and you think love you. You enjoy talking to this group and they enjoy talking with you. You are never awkward with this group and have no issue asking them for business.
Your Biggest Cheerleaders
Your Fan Club members are your biggest cheerleaders and they are happy to refer you to everyone they know...and they generally know a lot of people and are influencers in their group. Your Fan Club is usually a much smaller group, but it not an issue if your Fan Club is large. This group can also be referred to as your "A" list people. You'll want to market to this group on a monthly basis. It's not that they will forget that you're a Realtor, you just don't want to take any chances. Plus, when you market to this group some of the activities will be more of a "thank you" for all of the referrals they have given you.
The B List
The next segment will be called your "B" list. This list consists of people in your SOI who would recommend you to their SOI if you remind them to do so or they have recommended you, but not on a consistent basis. The size of this group is usually slightly larger than your Fan Club, but not huge. You want to market to this group at least once a quarter.
The C List
The last segmented group will be your "C" list. The "C" list includes people who might recommend you over time. The folks on your C list may or may not ever recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues. You won't know until you market to them. As a result, this is the group that turns over the most. You may market to this group twice a year for a year or two to see if they refer anyone to you. If they don't, remove them from your list. Conversely, as you meet new people you'll add them to this list.
Target Your Marketing
As you begin thinking about your Marketing Plan you will need to determine how you will market to each segment of your list. The goal is to target your marketing activities to make the most of your time and money. Effective marketing isn't a one-size fits all proposition. Your contacts will appreciate the thought that you put into your marketing when they receive your information or gift. Whether you are marketing to your Fan Club or your C List, your marketing should be targeted. Once you have your Sphere of Influence list segmented into categories, the next step is to determine how you market to each segment and how frequently.
Next week I'll give you specific ideas as to how to market to each specific group.
PS: If you found this blog to be helpful, please forward it to another Realtor you feel would appreciate it.
Thanks so much and Be Prosperous!
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