In most real estate markets business slows down from the middle of November to the beginning of the new year. The holidays, rightfully so, take the focus away from shopping for a new home. The phone stops ringing, your website traffic plummets and showings subside. That means you have plenty of time to go have fun, right? Not so fast…don't confuse slow business for no business. Take advantage of this time to focus on your marketing plan, something that often gets put on the back burner when you are busy. To help you improve your real estate marketing in the new year focus on three things; setting goals, creating a plan and scheduling time to execute it.
Setting Real Estate Marketing Goals
Goals are crucial to any part of your business. Most successful people measure their success by setting short term and long term goals. When I talk about setting marketing goals, I'm not referring to the number of homes your office can sell or the revenue your owners want to bring in. I'm talking about marketing focused goals. Things such as creating a new website, getting more internet leads or creating an online video.
I would advise you to set both short term and long term goals for your office. Your long term goal could be something big such as developing a new website, while short term goals could be generating 3 leads per month from social media. Both goals are important to your overall marketing but the time and resources to accomplish each of these vary.
One short term goal that will pay long term dividends is developing a consistent blogging strategy. Set a goal to blog 2-3 times a week. Over the span of a month, that is 8-12 new pages of content on your website for search engines to index and for visitors to interact with. If listings are the only thing on your website, you are doing nothing to set your yourself apart from your competitors. Blog content that provides insights, tips, current news and demonstrates your expertise will go a long way to help sell the services of your agents. Blogging takes time, so your weekly goal would be to set enough hours aside to complete your blog strategy.
Creating a Real Estate Marketing Plan
Once you have some goals in mind for sales, production and marketing you will need a plan to reach those goals. Your marketing plan is going to be one of the primary tools in achieving these goals. If you are like most real estate offices, you have a variety of marketing options at your convenience. These could be newspaper ads, pay per click tools, social media accounts, website banner ads and even the blog on your website. When outlining a marketing plan, you first have to determine your budget. There is no set formula, so decide what is reasonable for your business and build the plan around that. From there, determine who you are trying to reach and what will be most cost effective way to reach them. Things like social media and your blog are great options because of their ability to reach a large and engaged audience cost effectively. Other avenues like newspaper ads, TV placement, banner ads and other digital marketing options can eat up your budget quickly.
Understanding where your target demographic is most likely to consume your advertising is a crucial step. Options like radio and TV are good for top of mind awareness but they can be difficult to track and are usually some of your most expensive media buys. You might try testing these with short runs in two week stretches as opposed to longer sustained campaigns. This will also help you measure the response internally depending on the leads that are generated during those periods. Focus on matching your dollars with the specific type of media placement and target demographics. This will come in handy when you want to look back and compare the types of leads your are getting and from which sources.
Once you have a good idea of where the majority of your money will be placed, take a look at your lower cost opportunities like social media and blogging and work on a strategy. Think about your different types of clients and which social media platforms appeal to them. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and now Houzz are great tools that can be integrated to your marketing strategy. Knowing where to post is great but also knowing what to post is even more important. Reach out to the agents in your office to help you generate ideas for posts and blogs. Your agents are on the front lines working with clients and should have a lot of ideas about common questions, tips and topics of relevancy that will garner interactions on social media or in blogs. For some other ways to generate ideas take a look at our blog "3 Ways to Generate Real Estate Blog Ideas.” A really good blog and a really good social media strategy can drive a lot of traffic to your website garnering more exposure, and ideally, more leads.
Planning to Execute Your Marketing
You've got the goals and you've got the plan in place to achieve them—now you just need to execute. When tackling a big plan, time management can be overwhelming. Most of the real estate marketing managers I know have a lot on their plate so your weekly tasks can start to feel overwhelming. Especially if you are trying to include a quality blogging and/or social media component to your marketing. You may be responsible for designing ads, updating the website, inputting listings into MLS, coordinating advertising placement and more. Scheduling time to focus on one task at a time can be a big help. Use your calendar tool to block time for these task as if you are scheduling a meeting. Set up recurring events so that each week you know that from time A to time B, you are working on blogging or whichever regular task needs your attention. If you are working with a group of people, maybe a marketing committee, using tools like Asana or Basecamp might come in handy to manage projects or assign tasks. If your goals are to increase your presence on social media you need to set aside time to focus on the content you will provide, the messaging in your posts, calls to action, paths to conversions, planning and tracking. You don't want to just put up random posts with no purpose. To successfully execute your marketing plan start with your basic tasks and spend a little time each week focused on your plan.