HOW I GOT STARTED IN NICHE MARKETING
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.
MY NICHE MARKETING SYSTEM
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.
THE RESULTS OF NICHE MARKETING
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.