13 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Advertise to Get New Listings

Marketing methods available to real estate agents

“All my business comes from referrals…”

Real estate advertisingI was at a marketing conference in Sydney when an accountant said, “When a business owner says all their clients come from referrals, it’s because they’re useless at marketing.”

If most of your business comes from referrals, it could mean you do a remarkable job so everyone talks about you.

Or it could also mean that you do such a bad job of marketing that no one will ever find you and choose you, unless they get referred.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Referrals are great and everyone wants to build their business to the point where they get them. But there’s a lot more you can do to take charge of your destiny than rely on referrals.

Here’s some of the options you have to bring in new clients:

  1. Letterbox drops
  2. Billboards
  3. Open home prospecting
  4. Newspaper advertising
  5. Advertising in the property papers
  6. Advertising on real estate websites
  7. Own website
  8. Social media presence
  9. Social media advertising
  10. Pay-per-click advertising
  11. Search engine optimisation
  12. Content marketing
  13. The hyper local resource website

Let’s take a look at them in more depth:

1. Letterbox drops

This is good old fashioned direct mail. Nothing stands between you and direct access to your markets letterboxes.

The number suggest that around 3% of home owners will move each year. So at any given time only a small percentage of those will be actively selling. And then out of that percentage, you still have to convince them you are a better choice than all other salespeople.

I’ve heard of good results from mail drops. To increase you results you’re going to need to do a campaign rather than a one off “hope and a prayer.” What you say in your mail drop is also crucial. (See more about copywriting.)

2. Billboards

There’s a few salespeople advertising on billboards around Tauranga at the moment. The downside of this is again you’re reaching a lot of people who just aren’t interested.

For people driving past a billboard, the rule of thumb is that people will be able to read seven words.

You can hope that seeing your name and face will build your brand, but there’s a few steps between building your profile and putting dollars in your wallet.

3. Open home prospecting

Lots of real estate trainers have systems for marketing yourself to potential sellers who are viewing your open homes. This is no-cost marketing and is a no brainer. You might as well be taking advantage of the opportunity to canvas people who walk through a home you’re selling.

4. Newspaper advertising

I know someone who reads the newspaper… Okay seriously, it’s not quite that bad yet, but readership is dropping all the time. (I have sometimes looked through the paper, but only to find companies that need help with their marketing.)

The downside of the newspaper is that you’re trying to find someone who’s looking to sell their home amongst a bunch of people that aren’t. I’m sure it’s possible to make it work, but good luck with that!

5. Advertising in the property papers

This is a lot more interesting than advertising in the general paper as you’re only reaching people who are looking to buy. And it follows that a good number of people who are buying a home will also be selling a home in your area.

I see a few salespeople advertising in the local Property Press. It’s just the ads are uninspiring. The best I’ve seen is a list of homes the salesperson has recently sold, which is good proof. But I think you could go beyond the typical brag and really stand out. Make an offer, use a two step campaign. Give something first. With a bit of thought this could be a good method.

6. Advertising on real estate websites

This is taking the last idea and moving it online, where most of the people looking at real estate actually hang out.

Realestate.co.nz offer featured agent advertising with Agent Pro https://www.agentpro.co.nz/.
The cost varies by suburb and category and is limited to a maximum of four agents per page. Unfortunately the link only takes the prospect through to your profile on RealEstate.co.nz. You can then link to your website, but this extra step makes it much less likely that they will arrive there. This puts a lot of limitation on your ability to standout and makes the value of advertising here much lower.

Advertising on TradeMe was limited to the big players with a minimum of a $2,000 budget. But in August 2013 TradeMe opened up a self service option. The minimum charge is only $50. But what’s really interesting is that you can target your ad by category (so the property section) and region. This means you can target prospects in your market. Generally banner advertising is incredibly unproductive, but when targeted it can have better results. I’m keen to test this advertising for a client, so we’ll see how it goes.

The advantage of TradeMe is we’ll be linking directly back to the client’s own website where we have full control.

7. Own website

This is the 21st century, right? So it astounds me that there’s salespeople who don’t have their own website instead of just relying on their office’s.

Your own website is home base. It’s your own piece of online real estate that no one can take off you. The rules on social media may change, your office could have all kinds of archaic stipulations, TradeMe will continue to extort fees and RealEstate.co.nz may have limitations, but you decide what happens on your website.

In a world and an industry that is increasingly online, your website is the internet you. All your efforts point here.

8. Social media presence

Social media is the exciting, buzzing side of the internet that so often fails to deliver any returns for businesses or real estate agents.

There’s plenty of big success stories around, so the failure of many obviously comes down to how they’re doing it.

In the old advertising methods, no one wanted to see your selfcentred, bragging, sucky adverts. Well they sure as heck aren’t going to pay any attention to that kind of nonsense on social media either.

Social media is communication. You’ve got to listen, respond, and add value to the conversation. Those that do will win big. Those that just use it to broadcast their ads should go home.

9. Social media advertising

Advertising on social media is another pretty exciting possibility. It’s really only going to provide value to agents who are already working social media well. For those that do, it’s a way to build your audience even quicker.

10. Pay-per-click advertising

Pay per click advertising is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of paying for impressions, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad and comes through to your website.

The 800 pound gorilla is Google AdWords. You’ve seen these ads all the time when you’re searching. These ads aren’t necessarily cheap – you might pay $2 for each click – but they are totally accountable. You target them to exactly what you want and you can track how much they return to you. Their highly testable nature means you can improve their return.

Budgets can start at any amount, but you’ll need to spend a bit to establish what works.

11. Search engine optimisation

SEO as it’s known, is the process of getting a website to rank higher in the search in engines. In New Zealand that’s Google as they have pretty much a monopoly.

The advantage is as obvious as it is huge. If you’re on or near the top of page one for local real estate terms, you’re going to get a lot of prospects coming to your site.

SEO is an incredibly complex area with over 200 factors measured by the Google algorithm which is secret and constantly changing. It’s also incredibly profitable to pursue.

The difference between PPC and SEO is this:

PPC is instant but you have to pay for every visitor. Once you stop paying, it’s over.

SEO is longterm, it can take months of marketing to build up a good ranking. But once you’re up near the top of the results you get a steady stream of prospects visiting your site for free.

12. Content marketing

Content marketing is hands down the number one marketing method to develop on the internet. It’s been gaining momentum for years, but it’s a perfect fit for the internet and it’s ideal for the real estate industry.

Very briefly content marketing means instead of hitting the prospect with you self serving advertising that they’re not interested in, you instead give content away. Content means valuable, useful information that the prospect actually wants to hear.

People go online to get information. And with real estate, it’s a big decision in their lives that people have a lot of questions about. It’s the perfect opportunity to become a valuable resource of answers for your target market.

13. The hyper local resource website

This is the ultimate online strategy for real estate. It’s about building such an effective online presence that you dominate everyone else.

A normal content marketing strategy has you producing information that answers questions directly related to the the services you provide.

The hyper local website, is about building a site for your town, city or suburb that is a go to resource for all people living there, not just about real estate. The idea is you build a site that is useful to the community, and you’ll get so much attention online that the benefits to your real estate business will be immense.

So there it is, 12 channels to advertise yourself to widely varying levels of success. Which are you using to bring in more listings for yourself?

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Luke Foster, Marketing Geek who helps New Zealand service businesses make the most of the internet to get more business.
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