The online world is jam-packed with advice for real estate agents to market and grow their businesses.
A quick Google search for “real estate marketing” provides a plethora of articles offering 21 to 101 different ideas for getting listings, marketing properties, and building brand awareness.
Amidst that sea of information, you could be forgiven for getting a little lost.
You don’t need 100 strategies…
You just need one or two that work — strategies you can iterate, optimize, and do over and over again to keep your business afloat.
So… that’s what we’re giving you here: a plan.
These marketing tactics aren’t theoretical. They have worked for hundreds of thousands of real estate agents in the U.S. and they will work for you, too, if you’re willing to put in the work.
We’ve split this marketing plan into three parts: getting more listings, marketing properties, and building brand awareness.
Getting More Listings
The most important part of being successful as a real estate agent is getting listings. If you don’t have listings, you can’t sell properties. It’s as simple as that.
There are two primary types of listings:
1. Exclusive listings: These are properties that you have a contract with the seller to market and sell. You’re the only agent who can sell the property.
2. Open listings: With open listings, the seller can work with as many agents as they want. You don’t have an exclusive contract, which means you’ll have to compete with other agents to sell the property.
With few exceptions, you want to go after exclusive listings.
It’s even worth reducing your commission a little bit to secure exclusive listings with homeowners (especially if you’re new) — that way you’re not dealing with competition from other agents.
With that distinction out of the way, here are the best ways to get more exclusive listings.
1. Cold Call
We’re putting this tactic first for a reason.
Because, although it might be a little bit uncomfortable, it works.
And it’s one of the most direct and quick ways to get more listings for your real estate business.
And since many agents aren’t willing to cold call FSBO listings and expired listings (simply because it’s uncomfortable or because they’ve got enough listings already), doing so will give you access to listings that other agents aren’t paying attention to.
Here’s how it works:
You’ll compile a list of leads (homeowners who are selling their homes without the help of an agent or whose listings have expired) and reach out to them by phone.
The easiest way to find these is by scouring the MLS or by purchasing these lists from data sources like Propstream.
Once you’ve got a list of leads, it’s time to start making calls. But before you start dialing numbers, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- You should have a script ready before you start making calls (here are some great real estate scripts to check out).
- Don’t be afraid of rejection. You’re going to get hung up on — a lot. It’s just part of the process.
If you can push through the initial discomfort of cold calling, you’ll be rewarded with listings.
Don’t believe us?
Check out the video below!
2. Stay in Touch With Happy Clients
You’re probably thinking, “Why would I stay in touch with clients I’ve already worked with? I’m not going to get repeat business!”
But you’d be surprised…
According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of sellers would use the same agent when they list again.
And repeat business is great for your real estate business. You’ve already worked with these clients, you know what they want and need, and you don’t have to put in the time and effort to cultivate a relationship from scratch.
Not only that, but by staying top-of-mind with your happy clients, you’ll generate far more referrals when they tell their friends and family about you.
In fact, my past real estate agent still stays in touch with me over email and I love it — I’d very likely work with him again if I buy in that area in the future.
So how do you stay in touch with past clients?
Well, we highly recommend getting a CRM like HubSpot (they have a free version) to help you manage your relationships with all of the leads, clients, and past clients you come into contact with. Otherwise, things get cluttered fast.
Here are some things you can do…
- Send handwritten cards or notes on holidays and special occasions.
- Call them every few months, just to check in and see how they’re doing.
- Invite them to events that you’re hosting.
- Keep them updated on the real estate market in their area.
- Send them helpful articles or tips related to buying or selling a home.
Ultimately, we recommend staying in touch weekly via email, and bi-yearly via text and/or phone calls. Of course, you’ll want to adjust that based on how the person is responding (or not responding) to your outreach attempts.
(You don’t want to annoy anyone)
Doing these things will keep you top-of-mind with past clients, making it more likely that they’ll come to you when they’re ready to list again.
3. Run Advertisements
Running ads is a great way to generate leads and get more listings.
The key is to target your ads specifically to homeowners who are thinking about selling their home in the near future.
You can do this by running Facebook ads or Google AdWords campaigns that target people who are searching for terms related to selling a home (like “how to list my home,” “sell my home fast,” etc.).
Here’s an example of a great real estate agent Facebook ad…
You can also target homeowners in specific zip codes who have recently been married, had a child, or hit a major life milestone (like retirement) — all of which are indicators that they might be thinking about selling their home.
And finally, you can target people who have visited your website but didn’t take any action (like filling out a form or scheduling a consultation).
These are all great groups of people to target with your ads because they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
When running your ad campaigns, make sure to include an image or, even better, a video.
People are more likely to engage with ads that include visuals, and you’re more likely to get listings as a result.
Also, keep an eye on your budget and ROI. This is something you’ll just have to test to see if it works for you or not — so set a budget, pay attention to results, and optimize your ads for conversions.
If you get tons of listings but you’re not able to sell those properties fast and for top-dollar (to make your clients happy), then you’re going to run into trouble.
Here are the best ways to sell properties fast and for the highest price tags.
1. Take Great Photos
It’s no secret that people love looking at photos, which is why real estate agents should make sure they’re taking great photos of their listings.
The quality of your photos can make or break a listing. If your photos are dark, blurry, or otherwise unappealing, potential buyers are going to move on to the next listing.
But if your photos are bright, clear, and show off the best features of the property, you’re much more likely to get people interested in taking a closer look.
Check out the following stats (from PhotoUp)…
- 72.2% of realtors report that high-quality photography helps them win more listings.
- 83% of buyers said pictures as very important in helping them choose which homes they will visit.
- Sales agents who use professional photographers earn twice as much commission compared to others.
- 61.3% of brokers believe high-quality photography is ‘crucial’ for selling homes.
If you’re not a great photographer, that’s okay! You can hire a professional to take photos of your listing for you. It’s worth the investment, and it will pay off when you’re able to sell the property more quickly.
2. Get Active on Instagram
Building a real estate social media marketing plan is one of the best things you can do for your business.
And Instagram is one of the best platforms for real estate agents to market their listings.
Why? Because it’s a visual platform, which means it’s perfect for showcasing photos and videos of properties.
Plus, with Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, you can give potential buyers a behind-the-scenes look at properties and show them what it’s like to work with you.
If you’re not already active on Instagram, now is the time to start. Post high-quality photos and videos of your listings, run ads, and engage with potential buyers who are interested in your properties.
The Farr Group crushes it on their Instagram account — they’re realtors based out of Spokane. We highly recommend checking out their account to get an idea of the type of content that works well.
3. Do Live Video Walkthroughs
Gone are the days of hosting open houses every weekend. Now, you can give potential buyers a virtual tour of a property by doing a live video walkthrough.
All you need is a smartphone and a platform like Facebook Live or Instagram Live. Then, you can take people on a tour of the property, pointing out the best features as you go.
Live video is a great way to give potential buyers a realistic view of a property without them ever having to step foot inside. And, it’s a great way to generate leads and get people interested in your listings.
Here’s an example of what this looks like…
Building Brand Awareness
The final piece of the puzzle is building brand awareness.
Even if you’re the best real estate agent in your market, nobody’s going to hire you if they don’t know who you are.
Building brand awareness takes time and pays off dividends over the long term.
Here are a few ways to build brand awareness and get people interested in working with you.
1. Use Real Estate Farming
Real estate farming is a marketing tactic where you focus your efforts on a specific geographic area.
The idea is to become the go-to agent in that area so that when people are ready to buy or sell, they think of you before they think of other agents.
Because you’ve farmed the area by sending mailers, using door hangers, and door knocking in that specific set of neighborhoods. Naturally, when people want to sell your home, they think of you because you’ve been so active.
How do you do this?
The easiest and most common method is to send monthly or quarterly mailers to homeowners in the area you want to farm.
To stand out, we recommend periodically using our hand-written mailers — these draw far more attention and get far more responses than traditional postcards.
You can also sprinkle in some traditional postcards wishing people happy holidays during special times of the year.
2. Create a Google Business Profile
Creating a Google My Business profile is one of the best ways to get your name out there and generate leads.
Here’s how it works…
When someone searches for “real estate agents near me,” Google will show them a list of agents in their area, along with reviews, contact information, and business hours.
If you have a Google My Business profile, your listing will show up in that list. And, if you have positive reviews, that will increase your chances of getting hired.
Create your profile over here (it’s free).
3. Use Business Cards
Even in the digital age, business cards are still an effective way to generate leads and build your brand.
Every time you meet someone new, give them your business card. You never know when they might need to sell their home or know someone who’s looking to buy.
We recommend using double-sided business cards so that you can include your headshot and contact information on one side, and your company logo and slogan on the other.
Seem too simple?
That’s because it is.
It’s not necessarily easy — and some of these tactics take time to gain traction — but they work… and the work really well.
Getting more listings, selling properties, and building brand awareness as a real estate agent isn’t rocket science. You just need to do some basic stuff — and you need to be extremely consistent over months and years.
With enough grit, you’ll rise far above your competitors.