Creating a real estate marketing plan is of paramount importance forany investor seeking to begin a careerin this industry. There is no ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ real estate marketing plan as marketing is always situational, flexible, and fungible in nature.
So why would I write an article on how to create a marketing plan foryour real estate business? Because I want to provide for you severaloptions and let you pick which ones will best work for you.
Before giving you actual items for your real estate marketing plan, Iwant to give you a couple of words of caution to think about before deciding what to implement:
Create a budget.What will you spend every month onmarketing? This budget will dictatewhat types of marketing you will use.
Create a ‘time’ budget. Marketing can take time andeffort. For example, if you’re going to place bandit signs on a weeklybasis, you are committing yourself to early Saturday mornings everyweekend and late Sunday evenings to pick up the signs again. Can you commit to that time?
Pick at least 5. Don’t put all of your eggs in one marketing basket. I know many real estate investors love the concept of online marketing (as doI). However, if you are just creating a Facebook Page and expecting to getleads, your business will fail. For best success, pick at least 5 strategies from the list below.
Create a Real Estate MarketingPlan | Strategies • Farming an Area- this tactic is the simplest and least expensive way to get started. You simply drive a series of small neighborhoods in your target area and look for homes that show signs of distress.
These signs can be an unkempt lawn, boarded up windows, piles of newspapers in the driveway, weeds, etc… Then get the addresses, find the owner, and contact them to make an offer. This method is good because you become an expert in an area and costs verylittle money to do. The only drawback is that it takes time to farm areas.
• Bandit Signs Bandit signs are signs posted in busyintersections. A sample bandit sign willsay “We Buy Houses, Cash, As-Is” with a phone number as a call to action.
Bandit signs can be effective, but it costs money to purchase thesigns, stakes, etc… and takes time to put out and pick back up. Also, check with the local ordinances on whether or not bandit signs are illegal.
• Flyers flyers are business size cards with thesame message as a bandit sign that you place on the windshield of cars. For flyers to work, you must uselarge quantities (like 500+). The benefitof flyers is that you can create 1000 for about $15.
The downside is that it takes time to putthem out and you have a low conversionrate. If you’re starting out and you haveplenty of time but not much money, then spending a couple of hours a day with this strategy could be a good way to generate leads.
• Door Handle Signsthis is a sign that you hang on people’s doors with your message and a call to action. This is a great way for findingbuyers…going to apartment complexes and hanging on their doors.
This is a relatively inexpensive form ofmarketing, but as you’re finding out by now, the lesser the expense of realestate marketing, the greater the time requirement.
• Post Cards post cards are the most inexpensive way to perform direct mail. As such, they also have the lowest conversion. Post cards allow you to display your messagein a manner that the homeowner will see without having to open an envelope.
Post cards require quite a bit of testing, not just on the post card itself, but also on the mailing list used. However, as is the case with flyers, if you put enough outconsistently, then you will have success.
• Hand written letters handwritten letters take time to write out and costs money for the paper, envelope, and stamps, but thisstrategy also performs the best open and has the highest conversion rate.
This is because they look more uniqueand less like junk or spam mail. Whenwriting the letter, it’s best to use lined yellow paper and blue ink. Keep the message short and simple. For thisstrategy to work, you must commit to sending out letters consistently.
• Referrals this strategy is effective and inexpensive. You can develop referralsfrom several sources: Realtors, mortgagebrokers, title agents, contractors, or even people who work in hardware stores.
When making your pitch, consider the WIIFM strategy; always make the pitch more about how it is going to benefit them to refer you business. Andalso, make sure you return the favor and send them some business as well.
• Networking eventsreal estate networking events are great ways to meet other professionals toobtain referrals. They’re also great ways to meet and create relationships with other real estate investors. This is important because not every investoruses the same strategy to buy and sell a house.
Therefore, if you meet someone whofocuses on short sales and you focus on subject-to, then you two can create a nice little referral network. Also, these events are great places to meet other experts and learn from other, more experienced investors.
• Social Mediasocial media is the electronic version of networking or referralmarketing. However, when promoting yourself on social media sites, like Facebook, it’s important to make sure your posts are providing value rather than simply promoting yourself.
If you want to find home sellers, then provide tips on how to sell your house, how to stage a house, contract tips, etc… Brand yourself as an expert.Then people looking to sell their houses will look for you.
• Video Marketing video marketing is an excellent and underutilized strategy. It’s inexpensiveand doesn’t take much time. Plus, video is the media of choice- more people would rather watch a video than readtext. You can use video to provide tips or to give a walk through of a property you are selling.
Then you can upload and promotethrough YouTube as well as other social sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. As an additional bonus tip, I highly recommend having a Google+ account for SEO purposes.
Obviously G+ is owned by Google, and ifyou are using G+, your posts (and vidoes) will show up higher in the search rankings.
• Web sites people love being able to search forinformation online. Therefore, you want to have a very informative website that answers questions for those in need while showcasing your expertise.
I strongly recommend having something to give away (ebook, video, checklist, etc…) in exchange for their email information. This way, you are able to contact these potential customers through newsletters and autoresponders.
• Bird Dogs bird dogs are people who aren’t exactlyin real estate yet come across real estateopportunities. These are folks who work in hardware stores, the Home Depot orLowes, landscapers, painters, etc… Thes e are people who run into folks fixing to sell their homes.
Give these potential bird dogs your business card and pay them a‘marketing’ fee for anyone who ends upusing your services. This method can be the least expensive and least timeconsuming way to find motivated sellers.
Creating and implementing your realestate marketing plan will take some time, money, and effort, but understanding your options and committing to a time and financialbudget before hand will allow you tochoose the methods that are best for you and produce the best results quickly.