With every deal, agents have the opportunity to gain transaction knowledge and improve skills in negotiating, legal and regulatory matters. On the other hand, many agents focusing on transactions find it challenging to fit marketing activities into their day-to-day routines.
Today, many agents have had to re-evaluate business plans to meet the challenges of a slower market, increased competition, and emerging technologies. Here are some questions agents might ask to see if their marketing efforts are on target in 2009:
- The National Association of Realtors states that 87 percent of buyers begin their home search on the Internet, but only than 10 percent of real estate marketing dollars are spent online. This disconnect exists with most agents willing to increase their Internet marketing activities, but unsure which online channels and activities will produce the best results.
- There are many online sources for consumers to obtain information on individual properties. But what about neighborhood and community information? By a wide margin, buyers consistently rank neighborhood quality as the most important factor when deciding where to purchase a home. By providing neighborhood expertise in addition to individual property knowledge, agents can gain a competitive advantage.
- Ready for the end of one-size-fits all marketing? One of the most successful tactics for online marketers is segmentation – developing multiple marketing messages to target specific customer profiles. Today, the U.S. population – and probably your own neighborhood – reflects more generational and racial diversity than ever. That means you need to know your audience and personalize more than ever. It’s a challenge because what works for empty nesters probably won’t resonate with generation Y buyers coming into the market. It’s an opportunity because real estate niche markets can be very profitable, even when broader market conditions are trending downward.
- Have a system in place to manage your lead pipeline – often shown as a funnel – to ensure you’re taking advantage of every lead that comes your way.
- Measure the cost and quality of leads from various sources to determine which types of leads work best for you.
- Handle leads quickly and efficiently so that lead generation and conversion becomes part of your day-to-day agent routine.
Focus on marketing and prospecting
Real estate marketing and lead management have changed dramatically in the past few years. As Web technology advances, people are able to perform more tasks related to buying, selling and home ownership online. Naturally, more real estate marketing activity has moved online to capture these consumers.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to work in an office with a proven lead generation/management system, you’ll need to develop these skills to build your real estate practice. Putting aside the larger debate about lead aggregators and which types of leads are good or bad for the industry, the source of leads is an important consideration.
Before the Internet, real estate leads came from referrals, cold calling and open houses. They were usually self-generated and each received a personal follow-up. Contacts generated from databases or Internet may or may not be self-generated, and it’s often not practical to follow up on them on a case-by case basis.
They could originate from your agent website, or be purchased from any number of third-party lead sources. Their quality may vary depending on how the lead was captured and other factors. When leads are not generated through your own marketing activities, you must take steps to make them your own:
By keeping a combined focus on prospecting and localization for the online consumer, you’re bound to get your marketing efforts back on track!