If you are considering a new real estate career, starting on a new venture or are just plain interested in marketing (we hear you!), you need to begin with a solid real estate marketing plan. No matter how well prepared you are for your career, you can’t succeed without a well laid-out plan.
Definition of a marketing plan: A formal document that outlines an individual or company’s marketing goals for a specific timeframe with detailed steps on how to achieve those goals, from start to finish.
Think of a marketing plan as a road map to your real estate career. With careful thought and preparation, you can create a step-by-step plan that helps you successfully promote your services and takes you from point A to point B.
As you get started, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You should spend considerable time putting your plan together
- Your plan should be based on reachable goals
- Once finished, keep your plan in a folder or binder for easy reference
- Share your marketing plan with the key people who will help put it into action
- Refer to your plan regularly to make sure you stay on track
- Make adjustments as necessary
How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan
Creating a marketing plan is essential to your success in real estate. It includes the steps to approach your marketing efforts in an organized manner. With clearly defined steps, you will make the most of your budget as well as resources, providing you with maximum results.
As a real estate agent, broker, home inspector, mortgage loan originator, appraiser or notary public, you have a unique opportunity to market your services. Simply joining a team or opening an office and setting up your website won’t make people automatically come to you. This is where marketing comes in, and how you get your services and business in front of the right people.
The details of a marketing plan can vary widely, but the following steps are essential to help you define your top-level objectives and get you on the right path.
- Define your goals – This is the most important step of your marketing plan and dictates what the next steps entail. At the start of your plan, you need to decide what your foremost goals are and what you want to accomplish over a specific period of time. You should get as detailed as possible. Maybe you want to increase your monthly lead volume, drive more traffic to your website, grow your presence in a specific area, reach increased revenue goals, or all of the above. This is your chance to put it all down and map out what you really want to accomplish. It can include one goal or a combination of goals.
- Determine your niche – Once you know what you’re striving for, you should clearly define your niche or differentiator (what makes you stand out from the competition). It’s very important from the get-go to know how you differ from those around you and how you can make people benefit from these differences. Maybe you offer better customer service than others, specialize in specific properties or an area, get a lot of referrals, are a hard-nosed negotiator, utilize the latest technology, or a combination of these differentiators. These differences will become the basis of your marketing.
- Specify your target market – To reach the aforementioned goals, you need to decide who you want to reach via your marketing efforts. Is there a demographic, or audience, that would be ideal to target? Would it be more effective to blanket an area with a more general message, or do you want to be more specific? You need to really consider who would be most likely to benefit from the niche and differentiators you defined in the previous step. Your differences are what will make you stand out and your ideal audience is the one who will act on these differences.
- Define your message – This is the creative part! Now that you know your top-level goals, what makes you stand out and who you want to reach, you need to determine what your message will be. For some people, it works to brainstorm different ideas as a group, while for others it helps to work on messaging alone. This is your chance to define what you want to say to your audience. This is more of a top-level view, as different mediums will require differently structured messages, but in this step you can include an overall direction for your message.
- Determine your budget – Now you need to determine how much you can spend on your marketing efforts. How much are you going to spend each month, quarterly and/or yearly? This is an important step since it will determine what you’re able to do with your outreach (the next step) and set a cap on your overall spending so your expenses stay in line with revenue goals. For some people, the numbers part is the least fun step, but it’s essential to make sure you stay on track and don’t overspend.
- Plan your outreach – Now it’s time to determine how you want to reach people, which in this case are potential clients. For many, a multi-channel approach helps them reach their audience in multiple ways, without relying too much on one area. Do you want to include traditional and digital marketing initiatives? Your outreach will depend on your goals. As traditional marketing makes a comeback, especially with community outreach, you may find that your plan includes direct mail, local magazine or newspaper ads and even billboards, in addition to email marketing, PPC ads, remarketing, social media, etc. Think of the best way to reach your target audience and get your services in front of people.
- Become an expert – With the prevalence of content marketing and the importance of creating valuable, trustworthy information, this step is critical to lend reliability to your name, or brand, and increase your web presence. By adding a blog to your website and also contributing content to other real estate-related websites and forums, you help tie your name or company to your overall real estate knowledge, making you an expert. This helps people recognize and trust your name as well as gain traction via Google when people search for topics you cover online – a win-win for you!
- Delegate the work – To bring your marketing plan to fruition, you need to inform all of the applicable parties affected by the plan about your goals. If you have a marketing team, they need to know their overall role and expectations, and if it’s just you, you need to map out what will be done and when. Make sure they know the bigger picture and end result as well as their role in successfully implementing the marketing plan.
- Analyze the results – With today’s insights and analytics, marketing is becoming more of a science – you can still A/B test (testing the same thing twice with one different element and measuring the results) and see what works best, but there are less unknowns today. You have all of the data you need at your fingertips. Just make sure you use the data to accurately measure your success.
- Refine and repeat – The above data can provide a lot of insight into the effectiveness of your marketing plan. As you see areas where you can improve or make adjustments, you can refine your efforts. Once you’ve perfected your approach, you can repeat and start all over again with the insights you’ve gained along the way.
A solid marketing plan can be the difference between successful and not-so-successful marketing efforts. You want your overall ideas reflected in a plan that lays out your goals, with a detailed roadmap to follow. This will ensure that you stay on track and that everyone else on your team knows and works together toward the end goals.
Real estate professionals: Take action today! Don’t get caught without a plan. The groundwork you do now will pay off big in the future.