Marketing 101 for Real Estate Agents
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’ve just started in a new career selling homes, one thing that will be on the top of your daily list is marketing. Real estate agents have to be strategic in their marketing plans and consider a variety of factors as they look for homeowners that want to sell their home and list with them. Many agencies will provide their agents with step-by-step plans and systems that you can plug into to help build your business. In case you don’t have that, or you’d like some extra marketing advice we’re sharing what we’ve learned in our years working in the industry. Regardless of where you are geographically, what your level of experience is, or what your niche is there are some things to remember that will hold true for all realtors as they market themselves and promote their listings.
You must stand apart from the crowd
Standing apart from the crowd is one of the most important keys to getting noticed in a very noisy and busy world. It’s important to set yourself apart. With competition so high among realtors, you need to differentiate yourself from the other realtors out there. Why will a prospective seller pick you? What can you offer that other agents can’t? As you think about the answers to these questions, don’t forget to factor in the online component of your marketing. In today’s increasingly mobile world, you need to have a plan to set yourself apart both online and offline.
Here are some facts and statistics that are important to keep in mind and may help you as you develop your marketing plan:
- 92% of buyers use the internet to begin their home search.
- 75% of real estate business comes from referrals and word of mouth (outboundengine.com)
- 66% of emails are opened on a smartphone.
- 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.
- 73% of buyers will return to that same agent for their future real estate needs.
*Statistics found on National Association of Realtors website.
What does this mean for you as a realtor thinking about marketing?
It means that in order to stand out there are several key things you must do:
Have an active and engaging online presence, with an emphasis on social media
Whether marketing online or offline, one thing that holds true when you look at opportunities to network and grow your business - you always want to be wherever your potential clients are. Regardless of your industry, one thing that is true for all business owners is that your customers and clients are online, so that is where you need to be. This is especially true for realtors, where word of mouth advertising plays such a big role in the leads you get.
First and foremost, you should have social media profiles set up on all of the major social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the most popular, with Facebook being the most popular among these.
Having an online profile is not enough, though. You should be engaging your followers in a variety of ways in order to build relationships with them. Some examples of this are posting questions that require more than a yes or no answer and sharing articles of interest that are helpful to them, without trying to sell them anything. As people start to feel that they are getting to know you through your online interactions and they see that you are generous with sharing information without expecting anything in return, they will have you at the top of their mind when they’re ready to list or when a friend mentions that they might need a realtor.
Make your listings captivating and professional.
Always use a professional photographer to capture the images you need for your listing. Viewers can tell the difference. You have less than 8 seconds to make an impression when someone views your listing online. If your photos are not bright, inviting, and professional the person looking at the images will scroll on to the next listing, and you will have lost your chance to get them in the door for a showing.
Another simple tool to consider is adding social sharing buttons to your listings. Social sharing buttons enable those that are viewing your listing to easily share on social media giving you a much bigger audience and maybe even the opportunity to have your listing go viral.
Highlighting local landmarks and attractions is another effective feature that is not utilized by a lot of realtors. Consider your out of town viewers when you write your listings and write them to appeal to someone that may be considering making a big move to a brand new location. This is particularly easy to do when we’re so close to Washington, D.C., and a number of historic landmarks. You should also mention features of the specific neighborhoods for your property, as there are a variety of diverse neighborhoods throughout the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Use professional photographs in your listings
As you consider where you should invest money to grow your business, using a professional photographer is one of the most worthwhile expenses for you and more importantly, for your clients.
Consider that professional photography used for your listings will:
- Elevate your image as a professional.
- Tell potential sellers that you provide only the best service to your clients.
- Make the homes you are selling look bigger and brighter, attracting more potential buyers.
- Free up your time to focus on finding more listings, as opposed to spending hours trying to photograph, edit, and upload photographs.
- Help your listing sell faster and potentially for more money.
- Help you, as an agent, build and establish a brand identity.
Consider using virtual tours and other features to set you apart
Virtual tours give your potential homebuyer a view of your home that cannot be captured by photographs alone.
Most professional photographers can offer this. Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography can provide virtual tours for your listings, as well as professional floor plans, aerial photography and walk through videos.
A floor plan of the property that you’re selling is another underrated sales tool that helps buyers visualize the layout of the home, how it flows, and the size of rooms in the home before they schedule a visit. It’s a time-saver for both you and the potential buyer – if they know from looking at the floor plan that it will not meet their needs, they will not waste your time or theirs on an appointment.
Make sure you are mobile friendly
With such a large percentage of buyers scrolling real estate listings through their phone or mobile device, it’s important that your website and any sites that you place your listings on are mobile friendly. Your website needs to be mobile optimized, and your photographs need to look as great on mobile devices as they do on a computer or you will lose out on a large percentage of potential clients.
Consider where you’re spending your advertising budget
A simple and inexpensive way to advertise your listing is through boosted posts on Facebook. It’s an option that can get you a far reach with your advertising. The added bonus is that when someone clicks on one of your boosted posts, Facebook will then begin showing them more of your regular posts in their newsfeed, automatically giving you a broader audience.
Don’t forget that relationships are the most important tool
No matter where you spend your money or time, the most important piece of marketing your real estate business is by building relationships. In the end, people do business with people they know and trust. If you keep this vital point in mind as you pursue all of your marketing tasks you will get the most bang for your buck. The polished ads and networking events have little effect if you’re not building genuine relationships with other businesses and potential clients.
Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography
Professional real estate photography and marketing, serving all of Virginia, Washington DC and Suburban Maryland. Including Manassas, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Woodbridge, Potomac, Rockville and Bethesda.