10 Cost-Effective and Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas & Strategies for Agents

*from fitsmallbusiness.com

Creating a marketing plan and need some new real estate marketing ideas? Here is a cost-effective and creative list of great marketing advice.

  • Market yourself in the Central Illinois Homes Guide! It’s a publication owned by its PAAR members. Offering agents affordable and high-quality advertising.
  • Host Local Neighborhood Tours: When it comes to great marketing, nothing beats the personal engagement that comes from hosting a fun event for your sphere of influence. Even better, why not host an event that shows off your own love and expert knowledge about your farm area?
  • Create a New Logo:  Believe it or not, your logo (or lack of a logo) is one of the most important elements of your personal brand. A great logo can help propel your brand forward while a bad logo… well, let’s just say it’s not going to help you attract more leads.  According to Patrick Sanders, creative director for real estate marketing powerhouse 1000watt, a great logo should:“… signal something exciting and new — a message to the greater world that your organization is always changing and getting better. The work should reflect that energy.” You can also check out Graphic Design services with the PAAR Marketing Center!
  • Learn Facebook Messenger Marketing: One of the most exciting new developments in real estate marketing for 2018 is leveraging Facebook Messenger. Using Facebook messenger and a free app like ManyChat, you can build real estate chatbots to engage your site visitors 24/7 and even send content to your Facebook audience as direct messages!
  • Create a Video Tour of Your Neighborhood: A video tour of the neighborhood gives prospective buyers a much better feel for what a neighborhood is like to live in. Unless you live in a major city or tourist area, chances are there are very few videos showing highlights of your neighborhood on YouTube. Stepping in to fill that void can mean a nice boost to your online presence and can help generate leads!
  • Start a Direct to Door Marketing Campaign with Door Hangers:Joshua Smith famously built his business from scratch to closing more than 100 homes per year partly by using door hangers. Direct mailers can get lost in a pile of bills but leads need to remove your door hanger to get inside their homes, guaranteeing that they see it. The PAAR Marketing Center offers a variety of door hangers for real estate agents. Check out our Door Hanger options here!
  • Use Instagram Stories: The key is to use Instagram Stories to give your audience a look at your day to day life as an agent as well as focusing on your listings. Believe it or not, many people are curious about what the heck real estate agents do all day!
  • Learn the Art of Real Estate Postcards:  Sending out real estate marketing postcards on a regular basis is a great way to inspire interest in your business and raise brand awareness. You can showcase just listed or sold properties or announce your next open house. The PAAR Marketing Center offers a variety of postcards specifically for real estate agents. Learn more about postcard options here!
  • School Yourself on the Best Ways To Utilize Social Media: Many agents make the mistake of carpet bombing social media with listings, market updates, and tips and never really engaging with their audience. Instead, you need to focus your efforts on discovering what content works best for each social media channel you use.For example, contests can work great on Facebook while behind-the-scenes videos might work better on Instagram stories.
  • Create a Client Testimonial Packet: When it comes to landing more deals than your competition, one of the aces up your sleeve can be effectively using testimonials to help earn the trust of potential clients. Nothing is more positive than a third-party account of your performance from someone who has done business with you previously. Sometimes, this is all it takes to push someone over the edge to work with you and sign the contract.

    For help with creating your marketing plan, give the PAAR Marketing Center a call at 309.688.6419!

Why Personal Branding is Essential for New Real Estate Agents

*From eliteagent.com

Personal branding – it’s the buzzword of the moment, and for real estate agents, it is critical to every sale. Standing you apart from the crowd, making you memorable to vendors, authentic personal branding can be the difference between success and failure.

We all know that effective branding is a critical component to business success. From the start-up handing out flyers to a multi-million dollar logo relaunch, a solid branding strategy can be found within every successful enterprise. Yet this need for a cohesive brand doesn’t just apply to businesses, and in today’s digital world that brand extends so much further than simply matching the color of your stationery. As Seth Godin described, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a customer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

For customer-facing roles, such as real estate agents, having a clearly articulated brand is as essential as having a business card or a mobile phone. Some might even say that more than any other business, real estate agents are selected and used based on personality and presentation… your personal brand.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others, or to paraphrase:

Your Personality  + Your Promise = Your Personal Brand

For real estate agents, this is the foundation of your sales strategy. Unless you have built relationships and created awareness of your unique sales approach and your Unique Selling Proposition, you won’t be remembered when it comes time for vendors to go to market. You need to be at the forefront of a home seller’s mind when they pick up the phone. And you achieve that with your personal brand.

However, personal branding has to be true to what makes you ‘you’. There’s no point marketing yourself as an agent that loves house styling, if you are color-blind, or don’t know the difference between a chaise lounge or recliner! A false brand will scream of misdirection, and in the real estate industry, presenting a trustworthy, honest version of yourself is critical. Find your positive traits and your Unique Selling Proposition, and from there a genuine personal brand will grow.

Establish your personality

To begin, ask yourself a few honest questions:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • How do your peers see you?
  • What are your beliefs, your values?
  • Are you detail orientated and organized? Bubbly and confident? Personable and thoughtful?

By looking inward at your genuine traits, you can begin to build an honest picture of the person that potential home sellers meet. From this list, you can choose positive attributes that are true to you, and that resemble the brand that you want to present to the vendor; the traits you want to be known for.

Ensuring your self-impression always aligns with how others actually perceive you is key to long-lasting, effective brand. As Jeff Bezos, (Founder of Amazon.com) said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”

What is your promise?

There are a lot (a LOT!) of real estate agents out there. Somehow you need to be the one that home sellers eventually decide to sell through. So… why should they choose you?

Your promise answers this.

What do you do for home sellers that others don’t?

  • Do you go above and beyond the call of duty in negotiations?
  • Are you particularly skilled in closing deals?
  • What are your passions?
  • What skill are you most proud of?
  • What are your superpowers?!

This promise is what will become your Unique Selling Proposition– that one ‘thing’ that stands you apart from everyone else. Though, when I work with clients, I prefer to use Unique Value Proposition. What value do you bring your vendors over and above other competing agents in the area?

You can identify your Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Value Proposition in 5 simple steps:

  1. List the things that are unique about your service, the things that your competitors can’t imitate. What are the things you are really good at?
  2. Identify what emotional need is being met by your service.
  3. Compare these Unique Selling Propositions against your competitors and remove those that are already being met elsewhere.
  4. Match the Unique Selling Proposition to your personality, the two must complement each other, not contradict!
  5. Remember, it’s not about being the best (everyone is trying to do that!). It’s about being the best at something that no one else is.

Delivering your personal brand

So, you have a personal brand you can confidently use! From here, define your personal brand with a compelling brand statement. Communicate this brand clearly and often.

Use this brand statement to answer the vendor’s first question: ‘What do I get?’ with a short, concise phrase that is consistent with your values and your personal branding. Be different and avoid reusing common terms such as ‘trust’ and ‘integrity’, which have now sadly lost their impact.

Whatever your brand becomes, bear in mind the words of the very wise Sir Richard Branson: “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

How To Create An Easy Content Marketing Strategy

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*from ArticleCity

Did you know that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement?

That means your content marketing strategy should be the centerpiece of attracting your customers!

Today we’re going give you a simple content marketing plan template that you can use to kick off your efforts.

First, let’s start out with the basics:

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the a strategy of consistently creating and promoting targeted, useful content to attract your perfect customer.

Here’s how it works:

Instead of pushing products on people that may or may not want them, we will pull them in (“inbound marketing”) by creating content they are searching for or interested in.

When they land on our site, they will consume our information (answers to their questions, news updates, resources, etc).

Through the content, they will get to know, like, and trust our brand. Here we can capture their information, send them more cool stuff that develops a relationship with them.

Then when we are ready to sell something, they are much more likely to buy since they know us!

The whole purpose of creating this content is to create trust with your leads. This makes sales 1000X easier.

Here’s how to create a simple content marketing plan that will work for you:

Simple Content Marketing Strategy

1. Define Your Goals

A ship without a destination is just lost at sea.

First we need to define what your goal is:

  • Increase email subscribers?
  • Increase sales of a product?
  • Educate users?

You might even have multiple goals, but you must understand where you want to go before you create your strategy.

If you’re just starting, my favorite goal is to create educational content. That way, you can put it to an autoresponder that delivers the answers to the most common questions your user base asks.

Think about where you can make the most impact in your business – Is it by educating customers? Is it by driving more leads? Is it by explaining your product or service in a valuable way?

2. Define Your Perfect Customer

After you understand your goal, then think about WHO you want to attract.

We want to create a customer persona, or avatar before we create any content.

Here’s why:

You know how some customers can be AMAZING and you make lots of money with little effort?

Then other customers are really really difficult and it’s hard to make a profit?

The quality of the customer can vary greatly – So if you create your perfect customer persona first, all the content that we create will be geared toward attracting them, and leaving everyone else in the dust.

Here’s an example:

In the book “Dot Com Secrets,” Russel Brunson tells a story about how he use to sell marketing training to anyone and everyone.

It was very profitable, but he hated it because the customer base made it really difficult.

So he switched his lead magnet to a book called “108 Proven Split Testing Winners.”

Instead of attracting the “make money online” crowd that consists of lots of newbies, he started attracting more advanced businesses.

Why?

People that know what split testing is generally have more advanced online businesses.

Just by changing the type of content he put out, he attracted an entirely different (and better audience).

You can do this by creating your perfect customer avatar.

What is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar is a list of characteristics and the persona of your perfect customer.

This could include any amount of data that you deem relevant:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Job Title
  • Interests
  • Wants, Needs, Desires
  • Big problems they have
  • Questions they have

The best way to get this information is to know your customers! Actively talk to them or create a survey for them to understand who they are and what they want.

Another way to find more about your target customers is to run Facebook ads.

With the Facebook’s demographic reporting, You can find what age, sex, target interests are converting the best and actually bringing revenue.

3. Research & Validate Topics

One of the hardest parts about creating content is that you can invest a lot of time with little to no results if your content doesn’t “hit” with the audience.

That’s why you’ll want to find topics that your perfect customer is proven to respond to.

You can do this by reverse engineering content that’s already out there to find hot topics, trends, and news.

Once you find topics that are getting lots of traction, you’ll know that what you’re going to create is going to work before you even have the first word written.

Some of my favorite topics to create are based around current news – If you are one of the first to put out a piece on a trending news item, it can rank easily and attract natural links!

4. Create Awesome Content

Now that you have your goals set, your target audience defined, and validated topics, it’s time to create the content.

Depending on where you’re at with your business, you may want to write the content yourself or get a blog writing service to do it for you.

Writing for web is different that other types of writing though – You’ll want to make sure you format for the web by creating scannable content.

You’ll want to link to authoritative sources to back up your points, as well as your own content. (It’s called internal linking and will help your website rank better!)

More than anything, create value for your target customer. Make sure your content answers their questions and positions you as an authority.

As your readers become familiar with your posts, they will trust you as an authority and will begin to like you. So when you go to pitch a product or service to them, they will be much more likely to buy from you!

5. Optimize Your Blog Posts For SEO

One huge part of a content marketing strategy is getting search traffic from Google.

That’s why for every post, you’ll want to do keyword research to find what people are searching for.

Include these keywords in your title tag, your meta description, and throughout your content.

This will help you rank better and drive more traffic!

6. Promote Your Content

Creating the content is just one part of the equation. If you optimize well for SEO, then you have an increased chance of ranking over time.

You’ll want to develop a checklist for content promotion after every piece is published.

This will include things like:

  • Posting to social channels
  • Post to Facebook groups
  • Send to email list
  • Tweet out to the people you have cited in your article to let them know
  • Go back through old posts and add internal links to your new post in relevant places
  • Link to your content in guest posts

Conclusion

By putting all these pieces together, you can formulate an awesome content marketing strategy that will grow your traffic.

What is your content marketing strategy for this year?

How To Maintain Your Real Estate Brand Across Multiple Platforms

*From Delta Media Group

Building a memorable, trustworthy brand for your real estate business is as important as ever, and online marketing provides the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your brand to a large, diverse audience. One of online marketing challenges is that you need to maintain brand consistency across multiple platforms so that potential clients get the same experience no matter where they encounter your brand. Let’s take a closer look at these five tips to maintain brand consistency across all of your real estate marketing platforms.

  1. Develop a Brand Strategy
    You can call it a style guide, brand guidelines, or whatever you’d like, but it’s crucial to have an overall strategy for how you wish to develop your real estate brand. Your guidelines should serve as an easy-to-access primer for anyone who will be representing your brand and will help guide your marketing efforts. Your brand guidelines can lay out expectations in meticulous detail or include more of a general, big-picture overlook.
  2. Be Consistent with Your Style
    Maintaining your brand across multiple channels requires a consistent style, so that your audience will always know when they’re interacting with your brand. The good news is that there’s plenty of room to find a style that works for your business, by considering how you write, the fonts and colors you use, the type of content you produce, and the markings you use to represent your brand. On social media, the links you share and hashtags you promote also factor into your style.
  3. Engage and Post Consistently
    If you’re noticing a theme of consistency, then you’re already on the right track. In addition to being consistent with your style, it’s also a good idea to be consistent with your schedule on multiple platforms. Make time each day—or however often you’re able—to update your social pages and engage your audience. Since you’ll likely have multiple people involved with that engagement on your side, this is one area where your brand strategy can really be used to help maintain consistency.
  4. Watch and Learn
    Between analytics and good, old-fashioned direct feedback from your audience, you have the data you need to perfect your branding over time. Maintaining your brand across multiple platforms is so much easier when you’re willing to look at the data to see what works, what could be working better, and how to improve in the future. You can also learn a ton by watching how marketing-savvy agents navigate the process of building their brand online, so don’t be afraid to do some research to get ideas.
  5. Different Platforms for Different Purposes
    While maintaining your strategy, style, and engagement level are crucial steps, you also have the freedom to adapt to the strengths of each platform. Twitter is a great place to touch on local topics, while Facebook is excellent for building your referral network through personalized interactions. You still want to maintain consistency with how you present your brand in the big picture, but there’s room to tailor the tactics you use based on the specific audience and platform you’re targeting.

9 Social Media Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

*from RISMedia.com

The age of social media is upon us. Its adoption is a cultural phenomenon. In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 2.77 billion social media users around the globe.

Real estate agents who want to be successful today will not only need to leverage social media to meet the needs of buyers and sellers going forward, but also need to be very wise about creating and delivering relevant content for effective marketing and engagement.

It’s easy and cost-effective enough to open a social media account and be up and running quickly, but you’ll want to take in these 9 Social Media Best Practices to effectively send the right message to the right people at the right time.

1. Quality Content
Studies show consumers receive up to 10,000 brand messages each day! Your audience has a lot of options to spend their time on. Make sure to stand out from the crowd by delivering high-quality content that is compelling, interesting, and relevant. Find out what your audience likes by offering several kinds of content for them to choose from. Offer a mix of industry news, trends, polls, videos, local interest, even editorial (your own opinions and viewpoints). You can curate news you find yourself, or you can partner with service providers, (like the PAAR Marketing Center!) that produce real estate-focused and lifestyle articles you can use. Often, these services can post professionally-written content to your social media accounts automatically, providing a “set it and forget it,” hassle-free experience.

2. Frequency
It’s a numbers game. Shorter, more frequent messages are needed in today’s always-on world. Aim to publish a steady stream of usable information for your followers and create a plan to provide consistent news and updates. Statistics show that posting
frequently drives engagement. How frequent? Most experts recommend posting a minimum of several times a week, with many suggesting engaging on a daily basis. If you’re new to social media, make a habit of browsing the feeds of those you are
following each day and repost, like, or comment on their posts. In no time at all, you’ll get a feel for the pace that meets the needs of your audience.

3. Branding
You’ve invested a lot in your personal reputation and business brand; now, you’ll want to leverage every opportunity to elevate yourself and your message. Make use of the customization tools available within your accounts to keep your brand top-of-mind with your prospects and clients. Twitter and Facebook provide you the ability to add images to personalize your social media presence and present your unique value proposition. You can add your own profile picture, full contact information, a logo or even a photo of your real estate office and deliver a consistent look and feel to each and every post. There’s really no better way to let your viewers know who you are and that you’re open for business!

4. Video
It’s been proven that people are more likely to respond to video content by a factor of three. It’s never been easier to take advantage of this format and post interactive content to fully engage your audience. Many social media platforms have made it very simple to add short video clips or animated images to your postings, including linking to existing content from other sites. For example, if your company or team produces videos on its website, consider linking those within your own posts. Additionally, your smartphone can be used as a mini video studio available anywhere you go. Use your phone to create your very own virtual tours or walk-throughs, and add descriptive information about each of the properties you list to entice buyers to contact you.

5. Trusted Resource
Just as in real life, building long-term relationships with your prospects and customers should be one of your goals with social media. The best way to do that is to follow key referrals and contacts and build your list of constituents for each stage of your buyer’s or seller’s cycle. Do you partner with a local mover, electrician, or plumber? What about bankers or lawyers? Perhaps you know about a newcomers club, daycare facility, or a reasonably-priced dry cleaner in your area that you can recommend to home-buyers moving into their new neighborhood. Make a list of people and service providers in your network, and follow them on their social media accounts so you can make easy referrals with the click of a button. You’ll quickly become an indispensable resource to your clients and their contacts for years to come.

6. Be Timely
Topical and timely posts are a must if you want to keep your audience engaged. One of the best ways to do that is to provide the latest news and trends that appeal directly to your home-buyers or sellers. This means going well beyond the recent property listing or sale and including content they can use throughout the year, such as the latest mortgage interest rates, trends in home prices, or home improvements that have the greatest ROI. Sprinkle in homeowner-related content, like spring cleaning tips or driveway maintenance 101. Sharing groundbreaking industry survey results and infographics can really get your message across quickly and in a memorable and engaging way that will keep your audience coming back for more.

7. Mobile
Social media provides new and innovative ways for you to deliver your unique brand of customer service in a world that demands an immediate response. Fortunately, top social media platforms all have mobile applications that allow you to stay connected with your audience while you’re on the move. By setting alerts and notifications, you’ll be available from anywhere at any time when home-buyers and sellers want to reach out and inquire about your services or local inventory. With the power of social media in the palm of your hand, you can get more done in your day while keeping your prospects and customers fully engaged and satisfied.

8. Be Social
Don’t forget: Social media works best when the engagement is bidirectional. If you want people to respond to you and your content, take proactive and deliberate steps to reach out and like, follow, up-vote, and share the posts of those that are in your sphere. Ask them questions about the vacation pictures or special events they post. Take a genuine interest in the stories they tell. Consider starting and leading an online group about a topic that’s important to the people who share like-minded interests and watch your community grow! Many social media platforms enable you to post your own polls, allowing you to quickly capture valuable insights about the sentiments and preferences of your potential business opportunities.

9. Automation
So much social media, so little time! Are you a power user that needs to manage several accounts? Or maybe you’re just getting started and feel a bit overwhelmed? In either case, you may want to consider automating your social media content delivery. There are a couple of third-party tools that can help you manage your social media account, like Buffer or Hootsuite, which provide scheduling and the ability to post across all of your accounts, but you still need to create the content and the post yourself. If you’re looking for true automation, consider the PAAR Marketing Center, which will connect engaging and innovative content to your social media accounts and publish it on your behalf.