Target marketing is an important part of any good plan to get a listing sold, yet for years, my efforts were completely hit or miss. Then, while I was at a management retreat, someone came in and told us how to to it. And while the strategy is pretty retro, the results are still quite wonderful.
Here is the secret our "expert' shared with the group.
There are four ways, she said, to identify a probable purchaser for any given listing.
- Many houses and condos sell to people already in the neighborhood. If it's a house they either own a smaller home, perhaps a condo, or they are renting.
- There are often people who move from one specific neighborhood to another one.
- Buyers often hear of the homes they purchase from friends or family who live near the listing.
- They may be working with an agent, often one who does a lot of business in the neighborhood where your listing is selling.
Back in the day, the buyers would probably scour the real estate classifieds on the weekend Washington Post or drive around looking for For Sale signs. Today, they are online, looking at one of the national sites or their agent's IDX for listing information.
But some of them aren't even looking at all - at least not yet.
Here is how I put this theory to work for my sellers in today's market.
Let's say I have a new listing in Crestwood, where I've sold a bunch of homes during the decades I've lived here. And there are two types of properties. Most are detached, single-family homes and the others are homes that share a wall with at least one other property.
And there are patterns I've identified. A fair number of people move here from Capitol Hill, but most come from nearby Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan or Dupont or Logan Circle. So if I decide to do a mailing before an Open House, here are the likely recipients:
For a large detached house, I will mail to:
- Everyone in Crestwood who lives in an attached house.
- Anyone living in a house showing it is not owner occupied, and likely to be tenanted.
- People in largish condos (2-bedroom plus) in a target neighborhood - they are mostly condos.
- People in smaller houses in the target neighborhoods.
If it's a condo, I'll do something a little different. I'll target buildings that are upscale rentals, especially for a higher end condo. I might do something a little less upscale if it's a starter unit.
The other thing I figured out is that you don't have to do mailings to an entire target for a single Open House, and a few times I've double or tripled up - using a "Big-Bigger-Biggest" approach if I was marketing three properties to a single target neighborhood - something I found happening a lot. And often, I teamed up with a colleague to feature more than one listing.
There is also a company, Marketing Matters, here in DC that has a mailing list for everything you could possibly imagine, and their services become very cost effective unless you maintain your own database for a neighborhood you seriously farm.
If I'm trying to target neighbors, I'll try to use the neighborhood or condo list-serve. Many buildings don't appreciate agents using their list serves to promote their businesses, but they will allow the seller to post a notice - in the seller's name.
In my office, most of us don't try to double-end our transactions. If your office works like this, you may be able to get permission agents in your brokerage firm to market their listings to attract buyers.
Today, I've found that when I look close to home, this targeting strategy works well. Of course, there will always be listings where buyers come from out of the blue, but targeting strategies will attract new business even if they don't buy what you are selling this week! That's the magic.