OVERCOMING PARITY IN REAL ESTATE MARKETING

Unfortunately, in the minds of many consumers, real estate agency has become a "parity" service.  Parity exists when one brand or provider has enough similarities with the competition that they are considered interchangeable.  Parity makes marketing difficult, as there are fewer ways to stand out in the minds of your prospects.  Here are some strategies you can use to overcome the parity perception and make your marketing more impactful.

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YOU ARE NOT A REAL ESTATE AGENT

If you're looking for long-term career success in real estate, I want to make something clear to you:  You are NOT a real estate agent.  At least, that's not your primary occupation.  What you ARE is a small business owner.

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PLANT SEEDS NOW FOR SUCCESS THIS SUMMER

With today's electronic marketing focus, it seems that very few Realtors are using farm mailings to generate listings.  But there is a reason farming has been a mainstay marketing tool for successful Realtors throughout the decades.  Farming works!  And here's why...

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DON'T FORGET TO SELL YOURSELF

If you ask someone for a synonym for the word "salesperson" you're likely to hear terms like "pushy" or "aggressive."  It's one reason, and a valid one, that real estate agents prefer relationship marketing to traditional salesmanship.  They want to create a long-term connection with a potential customer and avoid being seen and an irritating, commission-hungry salesperson.  That's the right attitude to have, but sometimes it can be taken too far.

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LOW INVENTORY IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR AGRESSIVE REALTORS

Low inventory conditions are an excellent market opportunity for aggressive marketers, especially when there is a large number of people in the "contemplation" zone.  When someone is firmly on one side of the fence it can be difficult to pick them up and carry them over to the other side.  But when there are a lot of people already sitting on the fence, all you have to do is give a little push!

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BUSINESS PLANNING WILL HELP MAKE NEXT YEAR EVEN BETTER THAN THIS YEAR

Holiday season each year sees a downturn in real estate activity.  It's tempting for real estate professionals to use that as an excuse to limit their own activity.  But if you want next year to be even better than this year, holiday season is the perfect time to accomplish all those things you put off during the busy season and begin planning your prospecting and marketing for next year.

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NOT ALL CUSTOMERS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Did you know that a "referred" customer is 35% more valuable than one obtained by other means?  While it's very important to have a marketing plan to find new customers, the key to success in real estate is building referrals and repeat business.  Why are referred customers so much better?

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SET IT AND FORGET IT!

Did you know that the term "Set it and Forget it" was an actual advertising tagline coined by famed inventor Ron Popeil for his Ronco Rotisserie Oven?  His point was that if you put a little effort into a meal at the beginning of the day, you can forget about it until it's team to eat.  I love the idea of a little effort now and a big payoff later.  That idea applies to "Set it and forget it" marketing programs, too, and every real estate agent should have one.  Here's why...

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HOW MUCH CLIENT CONTACT IS TOO MUCH?

A recent study in the Journal of Marketing shows that past customer respond positively to up to 5 phone calls, 4 emails or 9 direct mail pieces per quarter.  With each contact, purchasing increased.  It’s only when customer contact exceeds those numbers that your customers begin to respond negatively.  When was the last time you called someone in your sphere 5 times in a quarter?  How often do you send 9 direct mail pieces in 3 months?  Real estate agents who want to generate referrals and repeat business need to understand that a monthly e-mail newsletter just isn’t enough, and need to begin thinking about "and" instead of "or" when it comes to customer contact options.

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ARE YOU A ONE-IN-A-MILLION REALTOR?

Specialization, differentiation, niche marketing, unique selling proposition, positioning statement.  Over the years a variety of terms have been used to define the same marketing principle: to stand out in the minds of your consumers, your product or brand must have at least one defining factor that makes it better than the competition.  There are over 1 million Realtors(R) in the United States.  What's your defining factor?

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KEEP YOUR MARKETING TANK FULL

It's great to see the real estate industry ramping back up!  I love to hear agents tell me they are busy with listing presentations, showings, contracts and closings.  But there needs to be another word in that busy mix - marketing.  It's always time to market, especially when times are good.  You should market even when you are so busy you can't take on another customer, and here's why...

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DO YOU VIEW MARKETING AS AN EXPENSE OR AN INVESTMENT?

Good marketers all share a similar mindset.  They look at a marketing budget and see it as an investment that should provide a positive return rather than as a "cost" or an "expense." Marketing is the small business person's way of investing in themselves...

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IDENTIFY YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

World renowned business consultant Jay Abraham asks an important question in his book Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: "How can you elevate yourself or your company to a position of notable superiority over your competition?  In order to stand above the crowded marketplace, you must offer your prospect or client a unique and distinctive benefit or advantage above and beyond that of your competitor."  Having a Unique Selling Proposition is extremely important for real estate professionals as well.

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GIVE YOURSELF MORE CHANCES TO SUCCEED

Michael Phelps has won more medals than any Olympian in history. He did it by hard work, impressive talent, and perseverance.  But he did it with one other trick as well.  He entered more events than almost any one else.  If you give yourself 23 chances to succeed, the odds are definitely higher that you will accomplish your goal.  If you want to win more, it's a good idea to play more.  The same holds true for marketing.  More communication will lead to more listings, more sales, more buyers, and more income. 

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YOU'RE TALKING...BUT IS ANYBODY LISTENING?

Traditional advertising, relationship marketing, social media, direct sales, networking...no matter what marketing vehicle you are using the odds are your target audience is actively trying to avoid your message.  But there are things you can do to ensure your message gets the attention it deserves.

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IT'S THE PERFECT TIME TO GROW YOUR "SHARE OF VOICE"

The National Association of Realtors reported recently that membership levels dropped below the one million mark for the first time since March 2004. That’s down from its peak of 1,369,411 .  The most recent NAR Member Profile also shows a significant dip in marketing spending from individual Realtors.  When there are fewer competitors spending fewer dollars, it opens up an opportunity for aggressive real estate agents to dramatically increase their “share of voice.”   Just like your customer’s housing dollars, your marketing dollars have never gone further for you than they will today…

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