Check out all of the amazing listings in the September 21 Central IL Homes Guide. Available online and on stands this Friday.
Do you want more leads for your real estate business?
Then you should diversify your marketing efforts and consider using direct mail.
Direct mail is not dead. Real estate direct mail marketing is alive and well if you know how to use it properly. We are going to discuss a few ways you can use direct mail marketing in your business!
I like to break down real estate direct mail marketing into two categories. You can use direct mail to market your database (warm marketing) or you can use it to market for cold leads. Let’s first discuss using direct mail marketing for warm or referral/repeat business.
Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing For Referrals
Prior to the Internet real estate revolution, direct mail campaigns used to be a primary method to stay in touch with your database or sphere of influence. Real estate agents used postcards, newsletters, and other personalized marketing pieces to stay on top of mind with their referral base. A consistent direct mail campaign to your sphere of influence keeps your name on top of mind.
Why Direct Mail Works Referrals For Realtors
The whole point of referral marketing is to stay on top of mind. How much mail are you getting on a daily basis? I’m guessing no where near as much as you would have gotten 10 years ago. Real estate direct mail marketing works so well because your marketing pieces are no longer buried in a pile of mail as so many things have gone digital. Do you check your mail frequently? So does everyone else, and that’s why this is so effective. Everyone receives and sorts their mail!
When fishing for referrals and repeat business you should not be trying to sell anything. The whole point is to stay on top of mind so you are not forgotten about. Direct mail nurtures your relationships amongst your family, friends, and past clients so that your name is thought of when real estate comes to mind.
Direct mail has a 100% deliverability rate. It also has a very HIGH read rate, which is something you cannot do as effectively with email.
How many of your emails get opened?
The national average is 13%!
What effect is your email marketing if no one is seeing it?
Email marketing is great, but you have to use it the right way and that’s another blog post.
Yes, people throw direct mail in the trash, but they still have to sort it first. This means they have to go through their direct mail to see what they want to read. Whether they read or it or not, is not the point. They still take a mental note and acknowledge communication from you, which is the entire purpose.
“Hey Remember me, I’m still here for your referrals and repeat business ya know just in case you want to send me some”
Because direct mail is tangible, it leaves a longer lasting impression than an email would. People will physically touch and see it. You cannot send someone a physical marketing piece through social media or email. This is why direct mail still works today.
When you are marketing for warm business or referrals, the goal is to stay on top of mind. Real estate direct mail marketing accomplishes that! If you do not have a consistent direct mail marketing campaign being sent to your “database” or audience, you should look into getting one going.
Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing For Listings (Cold Leads)
Real estate direct mail marketing for listings is a great way to prospect potential sellers. Have you ever seen any of these real estate investor gurus out there claiming to have bought and sold hundreds of homes? They are professional marketers and know how to target sellers. Did you know that the majority of them use direct mail as their primary marketing method?
So why couldn’t you do the exact same thing? If real estate investors are out there buying homes left and right, why couldn’t you market the same crowd?
Lets check out some direct mail marketing ideas shall we…
For sale by owners are great potential leads. You know they want to sell and the vast majority of them end up listing with an agent. Most sellers do not want your phone call solicitation, so direct mail is a great way to break the ice and try to build a relationship by offering a helping hand.
After about 1-2 months, FSBO’s begin to realize that selling a house encompasses a lot more than just popping a sign in the yard and posting the house on Zillow. The key is catching their interest by standing out from all the other Realtors you know who are calling them with their “interested buyer”.
Marketing Piece Example: Perhaps you could offer your entire marketing plan to help them sell their house for FREE. Send them a marketing checklist or a “DIY” Home Sale Guide in the mail. Your follow up call can be to make sure they received it and you can break the ice by offering to provide a free service. This will increase your chances for getting the listing down the road.
You could offer them FREE staging and home selling advice. Breaking the ice this way is much more likely to build a relationship than to go straight for the listing.
Cancelled and Expired Listings
You know these individuals want to sell desperately so show them what it takes. They are getting bombarded by Realtor phone calls with the “old school” salesman script techniques.
How about mailing them a marketing piece that’s a little different?
What about a mailing piece that makes them an offer no other Realtor is making them?
Marketing Piece Example: Most cancelled and expired sellers are already frustrated with Realtors. This is why you need to have a REAL marketing plan that encompasses more than a sign in the yard and a listing. Sellers want to hear about marketing specifics.
Don’t approach these leads as a Realtor, but as a marketer. That’s all they want.
What they don’t want to hear is some cheesy script you just downloaded. Solve their problem by supplying them with marketing content first. Don’t focus so much on how many houses you sold as much as how your marketing plan helped someone else in their situation. When you tell stories, your marketing will be much more effective. You can follow up with a phone call after they received your mailing piece and start the relationship building process.
Absentee owners are people who own property that they do not live in. These homes are either rented out or sitting vacant. The cool thing about these leads is that you can target specific owners that have certain loan to value percentages on properties they own. For example: lets say I want to target people who have over 40% equity in their properties. You can find the data for these lists very easily. These potential sellers are more likely to sell than the ones that have a 15% or less equity position in their properties.
Marketing Piece Example: You can send them a marketing piece offering for a FREE CMA to see what their property is worth. You could also send a direct mail piece on behalf of one of your investor buyers who is looking to buy property. You want/need to set up a direct mail funnel for this campaign. A direct mail funnel is a multi-step mailing.
The Key To Successful Direct Mail Marketing
This is not farming, but specifically targeted marketing that specifies a call to action you want your intended recipient to take. If real estate investors are having good luck doing the same thing, then why can’t you for your real estate business? Any marketer will tell you that the success or failure of real estate direct mail marketing depends on two things: the quality of your offer and the quality of your data.
Getting the phone to ring with these types of efforts is not the hard part. It’s what you say when you get the calls that converts a prospect into a client, but again, that’s another blog post.
*from Keeping Current Matters
When homeowners decide to sell their houses, they obviously want to get the best possible price for their home with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.
In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed a buyer’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends Report, the first step that “42% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”
However, the report also revealed that 94% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes ultimately purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% of buyers purchased their homes directly from a seller whom they didn’t know.
Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (52%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (38%), or to help understand the process (60%).
The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.
If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.
Fall and the holiday season are both approaching. There is a never ending to do list that seems to get multiplied this time of year. Is sending seasonal or holiday cards something that should make that list? YES! Sending greeting cards is a way to show your appreciation and send well wishes to your clients. In fact, here are 5 reasons to make sure sending cards makes your to do list:
- Show how much you care: The act of sending a card shows the person on the receiving end that you thought about them, that you care about them, and that you recognize the fact that they contributed to your success. Everyone wants to feel special and when they receive a greeting card from you in the mail, they feel that way, not like they are just a number with your business. It is how you make them feel.
- Send well wishes: The fall, winter, and the holidays come at the end of the year. When you send a card, it is a great time to wish people well. You are saying that you are thinking about them, and you wish only the best for them in the future.
- Cultivates referrals: I am not suggesting you ask for referrals in your cards; I am just saying that when you send a card and make someone feel good, they naturally want to reciprocate and do something for you.
- Keeps you top of mind: It is much easier and cheaper to keep customers than it is to get a new one. However, you still need to do something. You can’t just ignore your past clients and expect them to come running to you next time they need your product or service. You need to stay top of mind. Instead of advertising to them, remind them how much you care about them. A little (of the right stuff) goes a long way here.
- It is fun and easy to do – especially with the help of the PAAR Marketing Center! Call us today 309.688.6419 or email us at centralillinoishomesguide.com to learn more about the seasonal and holiday cards we offer. We can get you a quote right away!
After giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for securing your latest listing, the next step should be to immediately send out your “Just Listed” postcards. Some agents question if they’re still worth the trouble of sending, and the answer is a resounding yes!
Just Listed postcards are an effective and economical way to help you reach your business goals and their ROI is proven. Not simply a means of reporting on your success, the postcards may be just the encouragement other sellers and buyers need to make a move of their own. Here are three of the benefits of sending out just listed postcards.
“The Ask” as a Call to Action
Make your postcard an offer to help others with their real estate needs. Use a Just Listed postcard to attract and motivate potential new listings by including a small CTA paragraph at the bottom which offers your assistance to all sellers and buyers in the neighborhood of the listed home. Use wording along the lines of “If you’re thinking of selling your home, or looking to buy, I would love to work with you. Give me a call!” Or, put a different twist on it and offer a “Not For Sale” complimentary market analysis to determine the value of their home and start a relationship.
Even if people are not buying or selling right now, seeing your branded Just Listed postcards shows potential clients that you are busy and successful. That’s always an image worth promoting to those on your mailing list. You’ll also increase the chance of your information being shared with others, and as you know, word-of-mouth marketing is vital to an agent’s business.
Show Them Your Success
Use Just Listed postcards to raise your brand awareness and generate new leads. Potential buyers will welcome an additional option, other agents will show your listing to their own buyers, and on-the-fence sellers may be encouraged to list with you based on the way you are marketing this listing.
SEO for real estate agents is similar to other SEO initiatives with a few fundamental differences, the main one of which is keywords. If you’re a real estate agency looking to stand out from your competition on online searches, you’ll need to learn about your specific keywords and how to make them work their best for you.
SEO for Real Estate Agents
Keyword research plays a vital role in SEO. Your keyword research will involve identifying a list of phrases describing what your real estate agency does. You can use this list to produce a significant amount of website traffic if you’ve picked the right keywords. This will make a high starting point for your SEO for real estate agents. Keyword research could just be described as modern market research.
Your keyword research should kick off any serious marketing initiative that you undertake. Additionally, it is critical for pay-per-click campaigns, content marketing efforts and on-page SEO.
So let’s get started.
Step 1: Testing
Terms that are broad within real estate agencies can be hard to rank for; this could include phrases like ‘buy a house.’ It is best for you to begin with keywords that are specialized.
You should begin your keyword research by finding an initial cornerstone keyword. Once you’ve found it, then you can create a bigger list off of it. You’ll also need to verify that your cornerstone keyword will work for you by doing research. This will need to be done over and over again until you can check its usefulness and create a full list.
Start with a phrase that your clients typically use to find you. Take that keyword and do an initial test. First, you can check the existing traffic volume for this term. There are several tools you can use to do this, both free and paid. Google Adwords has a great utility called the Keyword Planner that will assess lists of keywords for their viability in PPC campaigns. This works particularly well if you’re using google ads.
Another tool is SEMRush which contains an array of paid research and analysis. SEMRush is useful for organic and paid SEO. On this site, all you need to do is type in your keyword phrase into the search bar at the top of the page. Immediately you’ll get results which will tell you how much search volume the term receives and suggestions with related words. If the terms they suggest hold value to your real estate agency, then add them to your list.
SEO for real estate agents will involve a lot of niche targeting. This means that your foundation keyword may not get a lot of hits in a month. 70 hits in a month will be enough to generate a profit.
If you choose a broader keyword string, then it will likely be too competitive for organic SEO and too expensive for pay-per-click.
Step 2: Make a Spreadsheet
If your research confirms that your foundation keyword will work and suggests other keywords, then this is the time to start a spreadsheet to compile a master list.
Google Sheets is a great option to create keyword research templates that can be structured into ongoing campaigns.
Your spreadsheet should include your keywords, their volume, competition, and specialty. You can also add any notes you might have on them here.
Step 3: Go Back to Google
Your foundation keyword will work out great, so now you go to Google to mine more keywords.
Head back to Google and type in your cornerstone keyword, then scroll down the page and look beyond the organic results. Down at the bottom of the page, Google will show a list of alternate keywords. These keywords are search strings other people have used when looking for your keyword. These keywords can be added to the list you created on your spreadsheet, and you can test their traffic volumes.
Step 4: Find Synonyms
Your list will just continue growing at this point, but you should continue to search for variants. In your search, you will probably find alternative keywords that will yield traffic.
When looking for variants, you can start by looking for synonyms for your keyword phrases. Thesaurus.com can show you lots of synonyms to contribute to your research. Developing your SEO for real estate agents, you’ll already have a couple of synonyms right away, houses and homes!
If you’re using a generic phrase like ‘choosing a real estate agent’, then you might want to use a synonym for ‘choosing.’ The other keywords you pick will also have opportunities for synonym research.
Step 5: Conduct Competitive Research
There are many useful tools in SEO for real estate agents that can make life easier. The typical keyword tool of choice is the keyword explorer from Moz. There are others though that are offered by SEMrush and Ahrefs which perform similarly.
Your goal will be to snoop around for keyword ideas from your competitors. Take your cornerstone keyword and paste it into the Google search field, then choose one of the paid results from PPC and copy the URL for the landing page. You can then paste the URL into the Keyword Explorer main input field.
By doing this, you’ll end up with a list of keywords found on your competitor’s site. These are the keywords that will rank them organically in the search list. These might also be keywords that they will target for in AdWords. You can search through these keywords and find ones that are relevant to you to add to your spreadsheet.
If you are already using AdWords, then you will have access to Keyword Planner. If that is the case, then you can skip this step.
Your goal is still to find keyword ideas from your competitors. To do this, head over to Google search and type in your cornerstone keyword. When the results appear, you can look for any of your competitor’s paid listings. If there is one, then copy the URL of their landing page and it to Keyword Planner. Then choose the option to search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category and past the landing page URL in.
After you’ve done this, you can analyze their entire website. Google will then suggest some keywords for you, which is what this site is currently ranking for in organic search.
The list that you get will include keywords that are useless and unrelated that you don’t have to keep. However, it will also include keywords that you can steal and will give you a good idea of what your competitors are targeting. Figuring out what they’re targeting will also give you more ideas for keywords.
Step 6: Stream Your List
At this point, you will have a large list of keywords that may contain duplicates. Your job now is to comb through your spreadsheet and take another look at these keywords.
First, you’ll want to get rid of any duplicates. Some spreadsheets may even have a ‘remove duplicates’ feature which will speed up the process. Then you can group keywords based on their similarity.
Once you’ve done this, your list will be complete. You’ve found all the keywords you want to use, and you’re ready to check them out a final time in SEO for real estate agents. Giving them a final test will help you determine how much traffic volume those words get. You can do this using either Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
Step 7: Finishing Your List
Now that your spreadsheet is ready, you can take it back to Keyword Planner. Now you’ll want the second option ‘get search volume and trends’ when you can choose the option to upload your entire list.
When you click ‘get search volume’ you will get analysis from Google on your list. Google will also tell you what a typical PPC bid is for any of your keywords. Keyword Planner is a PPC tool, so the analysis it gives is intended to be for paid search, not organic search. The paid keyword analysis tools will also give ‘quality ratings’ which are useful to know about any SEO for real estate agents.
When Google does it’s analysis you can decide to cut out the low traffic keywords that won’t give you enough traffic to warrant the effort of using them. Find the keywords which have decent volume and look for keywords with significant volume and competitiveness. You can find these by their average cost-per-click numbers from the Keyword Planner.
Having an online presence is a necessity in this modern age. It doesn’t matter who your audience is, where you are located, or what you do; you will need to be online. This is why SEO for real estate agents is so essential. If you’re unsearchable, you might as well not exist, because your potential clients won’t be able to find you. By figuring out all the right keywords for your real estate agency, you’re that much closer to being boosted onto the first page of search results and seeing your business genuinely bloom.
What are your favorite real estate agency keywords?
Inside feature article: Your Ideal Vacation Home, According to your Zodiac Sign! (page 9)
Front Cover Spotlight: Carol Urish of Jim Maloof/REALTOR presents this beautiful, private, quiet estate on nearly 1.5 acres in the heart of Morton. This home has many unique features including an in-ground pool. Link for more information and photos inside on page 7.
Back Cover features homes listed by: Laura Booher – Century 21 Lincoln National Realty, Deb Miller – Jim Maloof/REALTOR, and Ryan Cannon – RE/MAX Traders Unlimited
Wendy Kolbus of RE/MAX Traders Unlimited presents this spectacular masterpiece with golf views, beautifully landscaped privacy, and casual luxury. This home has so much to offer. Link for more information and photos inside on page 7.
Details about the PAAR CARES Foundation Charity Golf Outing. Please help support the community through fundraising. More details found on page 10.
*from Delta Media Group
Becoming a master of real estate social media is no small task, but it’s more than worth the effort. The most popular social media sites—like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—are an excellent place to connect with Millennial clients, and members of every generation. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how you can master the three most popular social media sites for real estate agents.
Simple, Smart, Social Know-How
If you’re looking for the best social site to connect with real estate clients from everygeneration, then Facebook is the place to be. Start by building your business page, adding attractive photos, and sharing the content that you create for your real estate blog. Understanding paid Facebook advertising is another key to mastering the most popular social media site.
- Success with Facebook advertising starts with understanding your goals. Facebook allows you to create ads to boost awareness of your brand, increase engagement, and convert curious potential clients into qualified leads.
- Next, you’ll pick an audience, and Facebook allows you to get very specific about who you want to see your ad. You even have the option to target your ad at people who are “likely to move” based on Facebook’s algorithms.
- In addition to advertising, make sure that you’re taking the time to engage on Facebook, both by reaching out yourself and responding when people post to your page.
For real estate agents, Instagram ranks close to Facebook as one of the best places to market your business online, and the fact that it’s a very visual medium makes it a great fit for real estate marketing. Success with Instagram requires consistent effort, and quality content.
- Learn the ropes of shooting and editing photos, so that you can produce your own high-quality Instagram content. Instagram offers a ton of tools for editing your photos in within the app.
- In addition to posting photos of your most attractive listings, you’ll want to give your Instagram connections an inside look at how you do business. Posting pictures / video of your team, your town, and your passions is a great way to build connections.
- Don’t forget video content. Videos are a great way to share home improvement ideas, how-to real estate tips, local events, and information about your team.
Twitter is a fast-paced social network where content and conversation is king, so it’s important to find the conversations that matter most to your real estate business. Since Twitter posts have a 280 character limit, it’s also important to practice saying everything you can in as few words as possible.
- Keep it short and sweet when making Twitter posts. Your audience has a ton of information to take in, and the best way to catch their attention is often with one well-crafted tweet.
- Create appealing real estate content, and link to it through your Twitter page. Twitter is a great place to generate engagement, so be sure to get involved with the conversation that your content creates.
- Hashtags make it much easier to find the content you’re looking for on Twitter, and to help your audience find you. Learn the basics of real estate hashtags, and use them wisely to help connect your audience with your content.