Almost since the onset of my real estate career, I have focused most of my efforts toward online marketing. We launched our Austin real estate website in 1998, and it has undergone a number of re-designs since then, including a completely new look in May of this year.
When I am speaking with agents who work for our company, I hear a wide variety of marketing and advertising ideas and questions from them. One of the most common questions that I get when I hear a new idea is, “Do you think it will work?”
My response is almost always the same:
“In my opinion, pretty much ANY marketing will work if you are consistent with it.”
I stand behind this statement. The example that I give them is standing on a street corner handing out business cards to passing motorists. Will it get a high return? Probably not.
However, what if you stand on the same corner each day and people begin to think of you as that “out of the box” (or perhaps “fresh out of the asylum”) Realtor? I haven’t ever tried this personally, but I can virtually guarantee that some sales would come from this technique.
Why is this? Because at any given time, if you take a random sample of 100 people on the street, a handful of them are considering buying or selling real estate. I am too busy (or lazy) to look up the statistics, so it could be more than that. If your marketing is consistent, you will hit a certain percentage of folks each time who are ready to go. If you give up too soon, you won’t be able to reap the rewards.
If that is the case, my advice is to stick with your marketing idea, no matter how far off the beaten path it may seem. There was a guy I used to work with who consistently farmed an area that I had no interest in. “Let him have it!” was my attitude. Over time, this guy became the expert for that pocket of town, and he has done very well. I certainly don’t begrudge him this, because he was CONSISTENT.
My current marketing efforts are pretty different from the late 90’s, when we invested way too much money in magazine and newspaper ads. Today, blogging is one of my primary focuses (clearly), along with making a bigger push in my sphere (church, friends, past clients) to be the first guy they think of when they think of real estate in the Austin area.
What’s working for me these days as a broker/owner as I seek to spread the word about our services?
BLOGGING – Being consistent applies to our blogging efforts, just like anything else. Also, I see this as a long-term strategy, as I have shared previously. I have been able to garner a good number of referrals from my friends here, along with receiving numerous consumer contacts. I hope to have a more significant share of my business coming from this arena in the upcoming years.
SEO – I continue to work on maintaining good placement on Google and Yahoo through content and link building. This remains one of our top sources of new business.
EXPANDING OUR FOCUS – With run-of-the-mill sales becoming tougher and tougher to close for a myriad of reasons, I have been working toward becoming proficient in short sales, and one of our agents has undergone tons of training in this area and is now conducting seminars on the topic. A couple of our agents also want to do more leasing and locating, so I will support this for them by providing the necessary exposure and database of information.
EXPANDING OUR COMPANY – I currently have 15 licensed agents on our roster. I would like to double that number by next spring, with a continued emphasis on quality and integrity.
NETWORKING – In addition to online social networking, which seems to be a never-ending well of new sites and platforms, I do a lot of “in person” networking as well. I take a lot of people to lunch, and inevitably they bring up the real estate market. You have probably heard this before, and I’m not an advocate of the “hard sell”, but EVERYONE that you know has the potential to be a client or to give out your name to someone who is looking. It’s about timing, as I indicated above. You want to be the person that comes to mind when their friends/coworkers/family say, “We are thinking about buying a house.” Once you achieve this mental market share, leads begin to come to you, rather than having to pound the pavement so hard.
So, are there any marketing ideas that you have decided to forego for now?
Who is asking these questions? Well (since you asked),there are a few ideas that probably wouldn’t work, no matter how consistently applied.
I decided that billing myself as “Jason Crouch, Your Fight Club Realtor” and greeting clients with a swift and unexpected punch to the face or gut wasn’t working.
Standing on the aforementioned street corner with a cardboard sign that read, “Licensed Broker – Will Work for Commissions” wasn’t helping my image at the local board, so I dropped it.
Hiring a team of agents who were fearless enough to pop out of trunks, dumpsters, and restaurant bathroom stalls screaming, “You just got Punk’d by Jason Crouch! Here’s his card.” was abandoned as too ambitious and carried too many potential liabilities for us to continue.
Wearing a rainbow afro wig at football games holding a large sign with my name, profession, and phone number.
Actually, I might need to re-think this last one. It has a certain 1970’s retro appeal that just might work.