I recently changed the signature portion of my blog to include a video of me with Barbara Corcoran, the popular star of ABC’s Shark Tank. All of a sudden, several Rainers reached out to me to see how I was able to get her endorsement. So today’s post includes the answer, but it goes much further to explain my new approach to marketing that is blowing the doors off of my local competition.
For our readers who do not know me, I’m an agent in Tallahassee, Florida, a relatively small market that is isolated by hundreds of miles from large metropolitan markets like Atlanta, Orlando, and Tampa. But that hasn’t stopped me from selling more than 500 homes per year and making the top 100 out of 1.4 million agents in the entire country, according to the Real Trends & the Wall Street Journal.
When people want to know about my endorsements from national celebrities and the rapid growth in sales that I have been fortunate enough to receive, the answer is really the same. It all started with a change of direction in marketing that I made nearly three years ago.
Have You Ever Considered Adding Radio To Your Marketing Mix?
When it comes to marketing dollars, even though print advertising has gone by the wayside, there are more options than ever for a real estate agents especially digital, outdoor billboards, TV, and radio: and all of them cost significant money.
I was fortunate enough to meet a gentleman by the name of Matt Wagner back in 2015, and he asked me why I was not taking advantage of radio. Normally, I would have blown him off and continued on my chosen path, but Matt is very well known among the highest producers in our industry, and I wanted to learn more.
Matt has worked with hundreds of the most successful real estate agents in the industry for over 15 years, and he explained that effective radio and TV advertising, when done correctly, had helped double and even triple the listing volume of the top agents in the industry. In fact, more than 75 of the team leaders recognized in the 2019 Real Trends Report (as published in the Wall Street Journal) of the top 250 teams in the US and 4 of the top 10 names are using radio and television to put them in front of home sellers.
Here are a few but powerful statistics about the power of radio that I did not know at the time I met Matt:
- 98% of all U.S. adults across the U.S. tunes to radio each month, as do 99% of all A25-54s — Nielsen’s Audio Today 2019
- Radio reaches +53.6 million more adults each month than search sites/apps defined as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others — Nielsen Audio Today 2019
- Radio reaches +66.7 million adults each month more than social media sites/apps defined as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and others — Nielsen Audio Today 2019
- Radio dominates the daily reach of audio ad-supported listening options. Radio’s daily reach of 73% is 10x that of Pandora, 18x that of Spotify, and 24x that of Sirius — Edison Share of Ear 2019
So what do all these statistics mean?
Virtually everyone who is in a position to buy or sell a home has a car; what do they do in the car? A handful listens to anything except radio. Radio advertising provides a way for you to stand out as different from hundreds even thousands of other real estate agents and share WHY you are different as opposed to all other real estate agents in your market who rely on consumers to go online and research them when it comes time to sell their home (remember people look at homes online when they want to buy, they look for realtors when they want to sell their home).
Why not just run on social media since it's cheaper? Proctor and Gamble, one of the largest advertisers in North America tried this - they dropped their advertising budget on the radio almost entirely and shifted it to digital ads - their discovery? A painful financial lesson when their response dropped off the table and they learned that radio tells the story that drives consumers to the internet where it's easier to click on an ad after the consumer knows them and trusts them.
So what were Matt’s clients doing right? Why aren't more agents on the radio? What is the difference between highly effective approaches and ones that fail? Here is what Matt shared with me about working with hundreds of agents and helping more agents earn over $1,000,000 GCI they can directly attribute to radio and TV advertising (and now you can add me to his list):
5 Tips For Ensuring Your Radio Campaigns Succeed
ONE. Radio and TV rates are based on the number of listeners each station reaches and the demand on the station, so rates are going to vary. A good advertising schedule on a station targeting the right audience is going to require $1000 a month in a small market to $3-5,000 in a mid-size to semi large market, and $10,000+ in a major sized market.
Marketing budgets typically represent 10% of the company’s revenue, so look at your P&L. If you are grossing $30,000 in revenue each month that means you have approximately $3,000 a month you can affordably invest in an advertising medium like radio. Why a year? Fact is only 6-15% of people will buy or sell a home in a given year - that means 85-95% of the people that will hear you don't need you right now.
If you had a little sticker shock when you read the paragraph above, well then, welcome to the club. It was a significant commitment on my part to “jump” into radio, but I have never looked back.
TWO. The fact that you are on ActiveRain means that you already know that you need to have a strong web presence. I certainly felt that I always did, even before meeting Matt. But the big marketing change on moving to radio meant that I was going to be more aggressive in my search for sellers, so that means my homepage needed to change as well. As we say down south, don’t go hunting for bear with a bb gun! I’m now hunting for sellers, and I’m making the adjustments to my homepage to hold the answers that they seek.
THREE. Have a team: People expect when they reach out that someone will contact them immediately if they don't it's lost. Our standard during working hours at Joe Manausa Real Estate is a response within 2 minutes of receiving the lead. Radio and TV when it works right will generate lots of activity so somebody needs to be prepared to respond quickly. A solo agent without a team can't be everything to everyone. How can you go on listing appointments, show buyers homes, and still respond to the incoming leads that radio produces? If you think prospective customers will leave a message, don’t waste your money on the radio!
FOUR. Don’t be like an ignorant FSBO, get help choosing the right station. This can be challenging because every media rep will tell you their station is #1 because they are salespeople and that's their job. This is why I strongly advocate for working with a professional. Just as in real estate, FSBOs think they can do it on their own. Some do, most fail, and all get less than they’d get with a top producing real estate agent. This is true in making media buys too. I don’t have the time to figure out the right radio station nor do I have time to negotiate contracts. That’s why I hired Matt, and my growth is a testament to his value.
FIVE. Do what works. I spent the first 21 years of my life being told not to cheat off the smart kid sitting in front of me in school. What I’ve learned in business is that I should always copy what the smart kid is doing! The fact that Matt works with hundreds of agents around the country means that I do not have to invent an ad concept, I can just do what other successful agents are doing. My messages were effective from Day 1 (because it was only Day 1 for me, these messages have been working in other markets for years).
We have used a variety of messages in our radio spots over the years, but there is a formula that works every time. I always laugh when I hear my competition try radio, they are just like FSBOs. They do not know what they're doing. Their message is always the same: “hire me, I’m great.” Matt has helped me prepare a far stronger message, and it typically is in the form of an endorsement (remember this post started with a question of how and why I have a Barbara Corcoran video endorsement).
Matt introduced me to Bob Pittman, the CEO of IHeart Media who ran Six Flags, AOL, Century 21 and now runs IHeart, the largest radio company in the world. He said "The ultimate way to advertise on the radio is to use the big personalities, the 'influencers'. Why? People trust people they already know.
Conclusion: In short, if you have a team, have built enough cash reserves to view radio as an investment, not a lottery ticket (ie you expect quick returns), it can be a very effective means of growing your business. You can click on this link to find Matt’s website if you are interested (and no, I do not get paid if you hire Matt). I am happy to endorse Matt Wagner because his business has helped mine grow at a far faster rate than I could have done on my own. If you talk to Matt, tell him you want Barbara to endorse you too!