As a new real estate agent, it can be difficult to know where to focus your time and money on advertising. Where do you begin—especially when you haven’t earned a dime in commission? To answer that question, we connected with some top real estate agents who graciously shared their dos and don’ts for real estate advertising. Here’s what they shared with us.
Ease into it
It is a classic rookie mistake to throw a bunch of a money at revenue before you begin making money, says Ariel Dagan, an agent with Keller Williams New York City. Instead, he says, “Agents should start small and keep their advertising dollars accountable to how much revenue the advertising produces.” He recommends focusing on family, friends, and other contacts first. “It costs nothing to market to them, the likelihood you’ll close the deal is higher, and the return on investment is solid,” he says. Once you have some success there, you can start investing more money in real estate advertising. However …
Don’t put off real estate advertising for too long
You don’t want to simply forget about real estate advertising altogether, warns Ryan E. Gable, CEO and broker at StartingPoint Realty in Chicago. “Advertising is crucial. I see so many agents come into the business saying, ‘I don’t have any money now, but when I make a few sales, I’ll start spending money on myself.’ Less than 25% actually do that. We tell folks that you have to invest 5%-10% of your commission back into the business,” he says. “Real estate agents are business owners, and they are in a business that requires getting their brand out there.”
Tap budget-friendly—and free—sources first
You don’t have to sink a ton of dough into advertisements right off the bat. Craigslist, open houses, bulletin boards at local businesses, and social media offer you free ways to get the word out about your business and the properties you represent, says Mark Ferguson, REALTOR®, author, and creator of the blog Investfourmore.com, a popular real estate blog.
Additionally, says Bruce Ailion, an agent, real estate expert, and attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, “With little or no money you can place bandit signs that you can buy for a dollar a piece. You can go to Office Depo and have flyers printed and hand deliver them to apartments,” as well as tapping other free sources. Those inexpensive real estate advertising options are “the kindling that lights a fire that allows an agent to buy more expensive advertising,” he adds.
Budget for email marketing
Email marketing seems to be here to stay, specifically in real estate, says Ariel Dagan. “It is one of the most effective methods of advertising out there. Each email I have in my database is worth $50 per year. If I have 1,000 emails in my Outlook contacts that’s a $50,000 database in my market center,” which grows as he adds new contacts, he says. If you have a good list and well-written emails with relevant information and strong calls to action, you can have great success, too, he says.
He does advise that you stay away from purchasing email lists to cold market to, and instead recommends that you build your lists from scratch. One such way is to offer plenty of content and visitor registrations on your website.
Write a blog
“I’ve been a REALTOR for twenty years, and blogging the past four,” says Bob Gordan, an agent in Boulder, Colorado. “The blog does two important things for my business: It gives me an avenue to be original and unique in a crowded and competitive marketplace, and it keeps me better informed than the other guy.”
And the benefits don’t stop there. “Once I create the content and publish it to my website, I then share it on a number of social media platforms: Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This social media push helps me stay relevant in front of friends and past clients in my market place. As the majority of my business is referral based, the blogs work directly to remind my sphere of influence that I’m a local, knowledgeable REALTOR in Boulder,” he adds.
Just make sure you are blogging on a consistent basis and offering high-quality content people will find valuable and want to share with others. You can write posts about the community, share DIY and home repair tips, offer advice for first-time buyers or people who are downsizing, and more.
Build an online presence
One thing that it seems most of the pros that we talked to agree on is that building a respectable online presence is extremely beneficial, especially if you don’t have the budget to spare on Facebook, Zillow, or print ads—just yet.
Ivan Ciraj, who owns and operates IVAN Real Estate, says, “Real estate representatives need to leverage the internet. That can be as simple as writing optimized articles about their niche market. Doing so makes you a credible source of information and is a perfect way to land some free exposure. Simple techniques to build online presence is one of the most cost effective forms of real estate marketing possible today,” he adds.
As you have launched your career, what lessons have you learned about real estate advertising and different methods for marketing your new real estate business? Share your tips in the comments below.