Competition for real estate agents is stiff, and having an effective online presence is vital. Here are 9 real estate agent marketing ideas that will give you an advantage and get your name out there.
Today, virtually all new home buyers start their research process online. From Zillow to local real estate agent websites to social media, if you’re not online you’re nowhere.
Real estate agents often face a similar situation to car salespeople, which is that consumers are informed and well into their buying process before they engage with a professional.
Fortunately, real estate agents are still important when it comes to closing, particularly when they have an area of specialization that helps people narrow their focus.
Here are some tips and ideas that will get you known early on and place you in the right position when buyers are ready to sign on the dotted line.
#1. Develop a Sharp, Easy to Use, Mobile Responsive Website
Your real estate agent website is part business card, part sales banner, and part listings tool. It’s a safe assumption that most leads will check out your website prior to contacting you, so it’s your first impression.
Make sure your impression is a good one. Be clear about the areas you sell in, services you specialize in, and how you can be contacted.
Of course front and center will be your listings search so visitors can dive right in to their research.
Here is an example real estate agent website template from Marketing 360®:
This website has visual appeal, makes it east to check listings with advanced search and images, pictures the agents, and has testimonials.
These designs are mobile responsive so home shoppers can navigate and search on the site on their mobile phones without issue.
Your website is your marketing home base. Make it modern, clean, professional and functional.
#2. Get Listed on Zillow
Zillow is such a dominant player in listings and home shopper searches that you really can’t ignore it. Create a free agent profile where you can sync your listings, give personal and brand information, get reviews, and show your sales history.
The big consideration is if you want to pay Zillow to become a primer agent. The main advantage to becoming a primer agent is that you get listed along with the listing agent on properties in your zip code. If you have a strong profile with many positive reviews, it can earn you more opportunities that result in more exposure for your brand and personal listings.
A look through real estate agent forums shows mixed feelings about Zillow primer agent. Most people get the best leads from being the listing agent.
(Note that Trulia and Zillow are both owned by Zillow, with a lot of overlap on each. Do your primary work on Zillow then double check your Trulia info).
In addition to Zillow, there are listing sites like Realtors.com and Redfin that offer similar services.
#3. Build Your Online Reputation
One of the things that’s tough about choosing a real estate agent is with just a cursory look, most of them appear to be the about the same. They offer the same services, can work with buyers on the same properties, and charge similar commissions.
To generate new leads, one of the best things a real estate agent can do is build out their review profile.
There’s no shortage of sites where you can gather realtor reviews. Google, Top Rated Local, Yelp, and Facebook are places where customers leave reviews of all types of services. As we mentioned, real estate sites like Zillow focus on review content. In fact, a big part of Zillow’s content is agent reviews.
Because buying or selling a home is a big financial transaction and agents develop relationships with clients, it’s not as hard to get reviews as it is for other verticals. Still, it’s best to ask and use email follow ups to encourage happy clients to give you a review.
When you ask for a review, encourage the client to be specific about what they liked most about your services – even prompt them if needed. Most real estate agents are good enough at gathering reviews that the ratings can be kind of a wash (a look on most Zillow listings shows numerous agents with virtually perfect rating scores). When looking for a real estate agent, people will read the reviews to get feel for the agent’s personality and customer service.
#4. Master Search Marketing
Many people looking for a real estate agent will start on their phone by asking Google.
The two mainstays of Google and Bing for paid and organic search are still important for your real estate agent marketing.
PPC advertising tends to work better as direct-response with short, to the point copy. Because you’re bidding on position, these ads will rank at the very top of search results. And because you’re paying for each click, you want to try to target people who are more likely to convert right away.
Use PPC for the most competitive keyword phrases and keywords that indicate the person is ready to hire a real estate agent. Link your ads to landing pages with a matching message and strong call to action.
For SEO, consider content meant to connect with the online researcher trying to figure out their home buying and selling options. Use blog articles to rank for longer, research-based keyword phrases. Showcase your expertise and use this content to develop a sense of trust. The more content you create, the better your website (including your Google local listing) will rank.
Set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free listing that connects to Google Maps. It’s the primary way that Google knows where your service area is so you come up for local searches. Optimize your descriptions with keywords and try to get customer reviews to increase your ranking.
Be aware that many of the review and real estate sites we’ve mentioned rank on local searches, and in fact they’ll make up much of your main competition. You may have to modify your PPC keywords if big sites are offering high bids.
If you can outrank sites like Yelp or Zillow on organic, you’ll have a big advantage.
Pro Tip: Use Retargeting
Because the home buying and selling process can be very long, retargeting is an excellent strategy for real estate agents.
Retargeting is banner ads or videos you target to people who’ve already visited your website or social media pages. It’s particularly effective on Google and Facebook. Here is an example banner ad:
This keeps your brand in front of potential buyers as they go about their lives online.
#5. Develop a Specialization
One of the keys to standing out as an agent is to offer a unique value or specialization. This gives people a reason to consider working with you over other agents in the area.
Many agents focus on certain types of homes in certain price ranges. Others become experts in particular neighborhoods so they can fit homes to certain buyers.
With so much competition out there, you have to be explicit about something you do well. If you don’t give people a clear reason to choose you, you’re just another face in the crowd.
#6 Become an Information Resource
People have a lot of questions about home buying and selling. The answers can vary widely depending on location.
Become an expert on everything that pertains to buying or selling property in your area. Develop videos to put on YouTube. Write articles on your blog. Share tips on your social media channels. Create infographics like this:
Think of your blog like an ongoing FAQ page. Research the types of questions people have about real estate to get keywords and create topics. Answer the Public is a good tool for this.
As you optimize this content, you’ll do better on searches. This will be most effective if you use local landmarks, regions, schools, business, events etc. in the blog topics.
#7. Create a Marketing Video
A marketing video is a quick, effective way to communicate your value proposition. It’s basically a commercial for your agency that you can embed on your homepage and optimize for search on YouTube.
For some home shoppers, video is the better way to communicate the value of your offer. Use it on your Facebook page as well for maximum exposure.
#8. Social Media Marketing
Social media is great for real estate for an obvious reason: it’s easy to share images.
That means as you connect with clients, you can share images of new listings, offering lightning fast updates of what’s available.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all work well for this purpose. An easy thing to do is create a “listing of the day” that you share across these networks, such as:
With a phone camera and these social media platforms, you can easily take photos of new properties and share them across your network, updating all your followers with new listings they might be interested in.
Encourage new leads to follow you on social, and have a page on your website that explains how you update new listings on social on a regular basis.
A lot of real estate agents are still missing this opportunity to share info on listings, which is unfortunate because it’s neither difficult nor time-consuming.
As a real estate agent, the content people will appreciate most from you is info and images on the latest listings. Use the immediacy and visual appeal of these platforms to engage more leads.
#9. Use CRM Software
There are few types of businesses that benefit more from customer relationship management (CRM) software than real estate agents.
CRM software lets you track all contacts, communication, and deals with clients so you always know what was discussed and where they are in they buying cycle. It’s indispensable if you have multiple agents providing customer service to clients because it keeps everyone on the same page.
As you organize leads in your CRM, you gain an understanding of what marketing sources are working best, and you can track what interactions lead to more closings.
Marketing 360® offers our CRM free with our comprehensive marketing and email software, so you can manage everything on one interface. Hard to beat.
Additional Real Estate Marketing Concepts & Strategies
You’ve researched online, looking for tips, ideas, and strategies to help your market as a real estate agent through your website. You’ve found plenty of lists, advice columns, and tutorials on winning clients and closing more deals.
But you may still feel like you’re swimming in murky waters. How do you get your mind around digital marketing as a whole?
Below are five concepts that have an underlying influence on digital marketing today. Use them to gain a better understanding of the process at a conceptual level, then apply them to your real estate agency’s marketing and advertising campaigns.
Real Estate Marketing Concept #1: Satisfy User Intent
When it comes to search and website marketing, users rule.
This means your content needs to be as user-centric as possible. Online consumers are selfish, impatient, and task-focused. They engage with content that fits the need of their search, and ignore business-centric content that boasts and tries to sway them with chintzy sales pitches.
For the real estate website, this means you need a design that facilitates house shopping with detailed search features, as James suggests in the video. You will tie into IDX listings. Your website needs detailed search features based on home specification.
The other thing you can do is match your area of specialty with what home buyers are shopping for. This gives your website a unique feel and offers prospective buyers a reason to work with you.
We have agents who specialize in types of homes, like condos, large luxury, on single family with a small amount of acreage. Other specialize in second homes or mountain vacation properties. Some choose neighborhoods or geographic regions they know well and have connections in. Info on schools, recreational opportunities, and area lifestyles make great website content.
The idea here is to meet the user’s intent as specifically as you can, and to facilitate their search journey with accurate details. When you provide that content, the search engines will reward you with higher SEO rankings.
Real Estate Marketing Concept #2: Information vs Advertising
With the digital marketing space, it’s worth considering two content types.
The first is the information you provide, as alluded to above. With real estate agent marketing, much of what you’re doing is providing information to help prospects select properties they’re interested in.
When you provide useful, relevant information, you create awareness and earn people’s trust. These are two essentials with online marketing.
But you’ll also use advertising campaigns and content. This is the content that’s more direct-response and sales focused. For all your information and useful tips, you still have to convince people to work with you.
Don’t overlook using online ads and calls to action in your online content. You still need to persuade people and motivate them to act. You need the value of your unique services as a real estate agent to come through.
In short, you still need to “ask for the business”. Work your call-to-action.
If you get too caught-up in just providing info, you’ll be the best information source in your market who never gets contacts that lead to showings and closings. Plan how you’re going to capture the lead’s information and follow through to turn them into a client.
Real Estate Marketing Concept #3: Roll With Technology
Changes in technology influenced real estate agency marketing and will continue to do so.
The vast resources of website platforms, IDX listings, and “virtual tours” of properties let people zero in on homes they’re really interested in without having to physically visit dozens of properties.
As we discussed in the video, social media plays a big role today in how an agent can update prospective buyers, engage with the community, and gain trust with helpful information and tips. Visual tours of properties now start online.
What’s next? Real estate agents deal with clients in a dynamic, highly communicative relationship. Today, digital technology underlies much of how that communication takes place.
The agents who win are the ones who stay ahead of the curve with technology. Today, some agents are winning new clients by updating them with Instagram images. Others are asking what Instagram is.
Some agents saw mobile technology coming and developed mobile responsive website design. Others let their sites linger and have content nobody can access on a phone.
Which type of agent you are will have a lot to do with your future success.
Real Estate Agent Marketing Concept #4: A Matter of Trust
The crux of lead-generation and online marketing is trust. All else considered, if you’re not getting leads from your online material, you probably have a trust issue.
Everything discussed here relates to trust. The set-up and content of your website engender trust by respecting the needs of users and meeting them effectively.
Providing information that’s genuine, intelligent, and helpful engenders trust. You answer questions, save people time, and help them become better informed home buyers.
Your use of social media and transparency about yourself earn you trust. Engage with the community, share insights, and make connections.
You also need to consider your online reputation and reviews. Your clients will leave comments about you on review websites and on social media, and the better you can control this to lean towards the positive, the better for your marketing.
Get testimonials from happy clients and put them on your website, including as videos. Encourage them to leave reviews on Yelp, Top Rated Local, and Google Business. Ask them to post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinerest and Instagram with comments about your services and pictures of their awesome new home, then like that content on your social media channels.
If you get negative reviews or comments, respond to them and try to remedy the situation with the client.
Overall, look at your online content from the trust perspective. You can be doing many other things right, but if people don’t get the sense you’re professional, reliable, honest, and trustworthy, you won’t hear from them.
Real Estate Agent Marketing Strategy #5: Use Marketing Software and Work With Professionals
How will you know if your marketing is working? How do you make improvements to be more competitive while eliminating campaigns that aren’t working? What do your prospective clients really respond to?
With digital marketing, you can answer those questions. Marketing software like the Marketing 360® platform provides a powerful interface that tracks everything, from your search marketing to social media to a CRM.
There is no excuse for marketing in the dark with today’s digital illumination. A strategic use of data is your path towards optimal return on your marketing investment.
This includes the excuse of “I’m too busy”. With Marketing 360®, you also get a marketing executive and full support team to help you develop your marketing plan and collateral. We realize all this is complex, so having someone with their ear to the ground, ready for the latest evolution in digital marketing, is a major asset.
Contact us today to get information on our affordable marketing plans and website designs for real estate agents.
We’ll give you a demo of our software and discuss these concepts as they apply to your specific situation. We look forward to helping you!