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My Real Estate Niche is Black Rock - a Hip, Coastal Community

Real Estate Agent with William Raveis Real Estate RES.0772823


When I started in real estate at the peak of the market in 2004-2005, I was warned against focusing on one small area.  My sales manager, my mentor, and experienced agents told me this was the wrong strategy.  What they said made sense at the time.  Homes were selling like hot cakes, the Internet was just beginning to play a role in real estate, and limiting myself didn’t make a lot of sense.  However, I just knew that I wanted to be an expert in my market and bring a depth of knowledge to my clients, that I couldn’t bring if I spread myself too thin.  I had already lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, so I had a lot of knowledge of both the community and the housing stock (I was addicted to attending Open Houses).  I also knew a lot of people from my leadership positions in community organizations over the years.  It seemed to me that my knowledge of the housing stock (expertise) combined with my extensive network of people (sphere of influence) and a reputation for giving back to my community (good will) gave me a competitive advantage.

I chose a one mile area on the Fairfield/Bridgeport town line in a neighborhood called Black Rock.  It had been part of Fairfield and later became part of Bridgeport.  Black Rock is a unique area because it is surrounded on two sides by water (Long Island Sound, Black Rock Harbor, and the Ash Creek Tidal Estuary).  It is also within a mile radius of the new Fairfield Metro Train Station and a pedestrian bridge will soon link the business section of Black Rock to the train station (completion estimated 2019).  Its proximity to the train station with express trains to Grand Central have also made it attractive to New York City residents looking for more affordable housing.



Black Rock, needs to be discovered.  No one expects to find a trendy, cool, waterfront community in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The usual way of finding a home by search via town then price, doesn’t work.  I created a funnel system of websites to lead buyers looking for homes near the water in Fairfield County to Black Rock.  I also use key words and blog posts that target buyers from New York City.

Like most agents, listings are key to my visibility and profitability.  I have a database of every home that exists within my market niche.  I update it with the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the homeowners.  Collecting e-mail addresses became an obsession of mine based on advice from my ActiveRain colleagues.  Through e-mail I reach over 800 subscribers to my Black Rock Real Estate e-newsletter via Constant Contact.  I have a very high open rate as I provide a short update on the market followed by my listings with links to more photos and information.  I send out my updates once a month.

I also created a Black Rock Facebook page for my community, which has over 2,000 fans.  I can directly attribute two sales to that page and the exposure likely brings me many more clients.

Sign riders are another key element to my strategy.  Since I sell in a small area, my signs are predominate and I look like the premier agent for the area, which is true.  I have sold more homes in Black Rock than any other agent since 2007.  I have my photo, phone number, and a QR code to my Black Rock real estate website on the signs.   


Over the past 12 years, I’ve sold over 100 homes in Black Rock and now, of course, niche marketing has become popular.  What foresight!  Hah!  It wasn’t foresight, but it was a planful strategy based on the strengths I thought I could bring to my business.   I can also thank the Internet and ActiveRain for a large part of my success.  I joined ActiveRain in 2007 and learned how to use the Internet to generate leads.  As a result, I do not have to pay for leads.  My websites and social media bring me the leads I need and allow me to refer leads out to other agents.  It is also a very efficient way to run my business, as I can walk to most of my listings and just a stroll around St. Mary's-by-the-Sea brings me in contact with many current and potential clients.  At social gatherings, when someone asks for a good real estate agents to market their home, my name will come up more often than other agents.  

I look forward to reading the other entries to see the kinds of niche marketing other agents on ActiveRain do.  I know that geographic niche marketing is just one kind.  I learn so much from our ActiveRain community.


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Recent awards:




marti garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

marti garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, marketing, WordPress consultant

Apr 08, 2017 04:37 PM
Gail Robinson

Marti, it's always an honor to be featured in your group.  

Apr 09, 2017 12:43 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

You have a very tight area but have made it your focus to be the most recognized agent in that area. Very well done

Apr 08, 2017 06:32 PM
Gail Robinson

Ed, Thank you!

Apr 09, 2017 02:22 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Congrats on your niche market in Black Rock Gail. You were ahead of your time.

Apr 08, 2017 07:27 PM
Gail Robinson

Sybil, One of the few times I've been on trend. 

Apr 09, 2017 02:24 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

excellent marketing to pick something you love and concentrate there and yes, ahead of its time.

Apr 08, 2017 08:29 PM
Gail Robinson

Tammy, You've done that super successfully in your area, too!

Apr 09, 2017 02:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

That was a great move on your part to serve a specific niche. Evidently, that has worked great for you!

Apr 09, 2017 05:01 AM
Gail Robinson

Kat, Geographic niche marketing has many efficiencies built into it.  I know some agents who travel many miles in a day to cover a wide area.

Apr 09, 2017 02:26 PM
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

I like the way Anna did your slogan, "Gail Rocks Black Rock!"

Niching down is a concept I have always believed in, just wish I could afford to live in an area that would be my niche.

Apr 09, 2017 05:03 AM
Gail Robinson

Eva, Anna is a master at marketing!  If you dominate an area, then you can sometimes make enough money.

Apr 09, 2017 02:28 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I will let Anna Banana Kruchten, CRS comment speak here Gail

Apr 09, 2017 06:29 AM
Richie Alan Naggar

Gail Robinson ...is "rich" in her niche

Apr 11, 2017 07:29 AM
Gail Robinson

Richie, Yes, she said it well, but I miss your pearls of wisdom.

Apr 09, 2017 02:29 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Gail Robinson  - so nice to see you and to read this outstanding post...really a great tutorial on setting up a niche market! Thanks for sharing your strategy! Who would think of anyone but you for Black Rock real estate, indeed anything Black Rock!


Apr 09, 2017 07:51 AM
Gail Robinson

Jeff, One client asked me during my listing presentation why anyone would like with someone other than me.  I exclaimed, "They'd have to be crazy!"  He laughed, slapped his knee, and said, "That's the kind of enthusiasm I need to sell my home!  You're hired."

Apr 09, 2017 02:31 PM
Doyle Davison
Hawaiian Beaches Hawaii - 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
30 years as your Concierge services listing broker

very nice concept that works in my area... How nice not having to pay for a lead source. takes a lot of time and effort. facebook is gretting great results for home leads.

Apr 09, 2017 08:02 AM
Gail Robinson

I haven't paid for Facebook ads yet.  So far my leads come just from putting up links to listings on my websites on FB.

Apr 09, 2017 02:32 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

That is a spectacular result of concentrated marketing.  We have a community of new homes in Santa Clara, CA rebuilt from the old cookoo nest. M focused on that area spent $2000 a month on mailing.  As the people there tend to relocate more often she draws a 7 figure a year in commission. These modern tree houses are often overlooked by new realtors from too small yard.  Last four years the price has been closed to tripled so is her commission. 

Thanks for sharing.

Apr 09, 2017 08:06 AM
Gail Robinson

Sam, If I win the lottery I'll spend $2,000/month on mailings, but I have over 800 subscribers to my Constant Contact e-mails so I tend to focus on e-mails and then send mailings just to the people for whom I don't have an e-mail address.

Apr 09, 2017 02:35 PM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Thanks! It's always cool to read about communities I've never been to.

Apr 09, 2017 08:26 AM
Gail Robinson

Paul, This approach would clearly not work in your business.  I imagine you need a wide geographic area.

Apr 09, 2017 02:36 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I think you've got the right idea - 2000 fans for your local Facebook page, 800 subscribers to your newsletter, and over 100 homes sold in Black Rock.  I'd say You Rock!

Apr 09, 2017 04:05 PM
Gail Robinson

Margaret, Thank you!

Apr 10, 2017 05:38 AM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Sounds Beautiful! I want to come see Black Rock! You also believe in your area and that is the crowning touch!

Apr 10, 2017 01:45 AM
Gail Robinson

Debra, Yes, it is a beautiful place to live and a true community.  

Apr 10, 2017 05:39 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Excellent foresight Gail! Anna Banana is right,  Gail Rocks Black Rock!

Apr 10, 2017 04:06 PM
Gail Robinson

Hindsight is always 20/20! 

Apr 11, 2017 06:56 AM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Specializing in a niche market is a great business model and one of the best ways to become an expert in that market.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Apr 10, 2017 06:15 PM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Lou, Thank you!

Apr 11, 2017 06:58 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Zig Ziglar taught us that you'll never get anywhere as a wandering generality , you must become a Meaningful specific !!! Well Done !

Apr 11, 2017 12:42 PM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Gail, a great story about your niche.  Done with purpose and determination.  You rock (or is that Black Rock?) .  :)


May 08, 2017 07:00 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

When I think of Black Rock, I certainly think of you and no one else, Gail! Great entry for the contest and I can't believe I missed it when you originally posted it!

I hope you're doing fantastic - good to see you back in the Rain, for sure!!

Aug 30, 2017 10:09 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Gail

This is such a well-deserved featured with a well-laid out strategy for niche marketing that has clearly worked well. I read this before but came back to read again - such good advice that anyone can put into practice.


Aug 30, 2017 10:39 AM