Aside from networking, the most important thing you can do to attract new business is to advertise and market your services. If you are relatively new to the industry, you may – through no fault of your own – think that the majority of marketing is relegated to social media and maybe a direct mail campaign. However, this is not the case – nor should you allow it to be. Marketing your real estate services should span a variety of outlets and mediums. Your advertising can be something as simple as a space on a church bulletin or as involved as having a weekly spot on a local radio show. Whatever you do, you need to make sure you are getting a good return on your investment and you are tracking your results.
You never want to assume what will work and what won’t. For reasons that can’t be explained, even the most bizarre marketing strategies can generate enough leads. In fact, sometimes the most obscure marketing methods can produce the greatest results. The first thing you need to do when contemplating any advertising, is to define your goals. All advertising is not intended to make your phone ring off the hook. Sponsoring a local little league team may not directly provide you with any deals, but it will bring local name recognition – possibly for a deal down the road. Once you know your goals for both the short and long term, you can develop a strategy and a budget for what you want to do.
It is important not to dismiss this step, as many investors think they can simply throw money into advertising and get results. If you are only thinking about the short term, you will have to pay to generate new leads in the future. Businesses that have a combination of generating new leads in the short term, coupled with brand building for the long term, are generally the ones that will thrive for a prolonged period of time in any market.
In most cases, the type of advertising you do will be based on your budget. Instead of looking at marketing in terms of what will get your phone to ring, you need to look at what will offer the best return on your investment. For every dollar you spend, you want to see at least a dollar returned. This can get tricky with advertising because some advertising you do may not have a direct or immediate impact. Someone on the highway that sees your billboard sign may not take out their phone and call you that day, but when they see a post on social media or your services touted by their realtor, it may trigger a call. This cumulative effect is difficult to quantify, but is important to note. It is always much better to advertise in as many cost effective ways as possible, as opposed to throwing all of your budget at one method. The more diverse and expansive you are, the better chance you will have at establishing leads.
The advertising you do, if you are just getting established, is different than if you have been in the business for years. If you are new, you want to look for inexpensive methods that can give you a good bang for your buck: local team sponsorships, increased social media presence, local direct mail, bandit signs, newspaper publications and local networking groups. If you are more established and have a bigger budget, you can look at hosting a radio show on local radio, putting up a highway billboard, taking out a larger ad in a newspaper or taking on larger lists for your direct mail campaigns. Some methods work better than others and the results may surprise you. Whatever you do, it is important to track and monitor the results. If you don’t know the results, you could end up spending money unnecessarily.
In tracking the results, you need to track everything about everything. How much money is spent, how frequently, what time and days were they sent on and in what manner were they presented. If you know what works and what doesn’t, it will allow you to tweak your methods in the future. It is amazing how many investors will not know where their advertising money is going. If you can change your methods as soon as you realize something isn’t working, it will allow you more opportunities throughout the year and ultimately bring your business more success.
As important as it is to be able to shift gears, this should not be done without giving your marketing a fair chance. Any methods should be done at least a couple of times and with a couple of tweaks. If you are sending direct mail, you should be prepared to send your list at least a half dozen times. The same goes for any marketing you are doing. Always track your results, but know that the smaller the sample size, the more room for variance and the greater the chance that the results may not same every time you do it. Consistency is the key to any marketing and advertising. You have to be willing to commit to anything you do. Before you start, you should have dates that you are prepared to start and stop. This will allow you to give your marketing a fair chance to really see what works and what doesn’t.
Your advertising can jump-start your business and set it up for long term success, or it can be a source that eats away at your budget. If you know how much you can spend and what your goals are, it will give you the best chance at success.