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Being in real estate is tough business, especially when you only get paid for the performance and results you deliver. We’ve talked to 19 of the top experts in real estate, real estate marketing and real estate PR to bring you their best real estate marketing ideas. These will get you the close you are after whether you’re working with a buyer or seller.
As a high-end real estate marketer, your primary responsibility is to create a perception of luxury for a home that becomes the reality and expectation of the potential home buyer. Creating that luxury perception becomes the key. It requires effective marketing strategies that draw the affluent home buyer. That means every potential customer contact – from online listing, advertisements, listing flyers, brochures, direct mail contact – must communicate the luxury story aimed to entice the potential luxury buyer.
The Secret: It’s Not About More Marketing; It’s About More EFFECTIVE Marketing
To sell a million-dollar house in a slow market, you don’t necessarily need more marketing or advertising, but you need more EFFECTIVE marketing and advertising. Here are some research-based ideas to help real estate marketers sell more million-dollar homes in a luxury housing market that has suddenly gone cold.
Brand Name Drop
In today’s marketplace, luxury brands are cultural currency. They talk to the quality and value of a million-dollar home. Real estate marketers should take a full inventory of the brands reflected in the home, not just the appliances, but the fixtures, local name-brand architects, designers, and contractors that are reflected in the home. Luxury brands in the home testify to the luxury price tag, Use them.
Tell Stories About The Home, Don’t Just Describe It’s Features
Real estate listings are just that: fact-based objective listings of the home’s features. But such listings – square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms, baths, etc. – tell the prospective buyer nothing about the experience of living in the home. Story-based listings that weave the home’s facts and figures into the story romance the listing and make it come alive. Don’t just write a listing, tell a story about the home.
Hire A Writer
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in today’s internet-powered, social-media driven, content-marketing world, a thousand words need to go along with that picture. Those thousand words must tell stories engaging enough to make the prospective home buyer curious enough to call the agent and set up an appointment to experience the home for themselves.
Real estate agents think nothing of hiring professionals to do their photography and videography, yet they write the listing themselves. This is a huge mistake! Writers can take that fact-based listing description, including the extensive brand-name inventory, and tell a story about the home that will romance the listing and make it pop! Plus, writers are fairly inexpensive to hire. Put one on the payroll and see the difference it makes to the listings and your sales.
This is a low cost, organic route to lead generation. Beyond blogging, you can share your content in Groups on Social Media, use your posts as material for a Drip Marketing campaign and even share Client Testimonials in your Blog. I do all of this and more with my website: boulderrealestatenews.com
Recently I’ve created a electronic newsletter, using my BLOG content as the stories, so that interested consumers can click to my website.
Interact on Social Media
Interact on social platforms, especially in Groups. Specifically, in a local FB group called the 8-Oh-Oh-27 (named after a zip code), I posted I was looking for recommended contractors to create a list to share. I had a massive response. Over sixty LIKES, and another 50 comments, about a 1/3 wanted in the material, the rest wanted a copy.
I have published over one hundred videos, some of which have been viewed extensively. My favorite videos are quick post-closing client testimonials. My clients thank me by name and share how excited they are to be in their new home. They mention the things I did well – the marketing, the communication, the strong negotiation skills. Then I post the video to my Blog, share on Social Media and I TAG everyone involved when sharing — the closer, the other agent, the client, the title company, the mortgage lender. These videos get great exposure.
Building and Maintaining Relationships Online
A key activity to building relationships is an email newsletter. Through platforms like Emma or Mailchimp it has never been easier to handle create and distribute your own email newsletter. Letting past, current and potential clients know your activities including listings, speaking opportunities, closings, open houses, even personal events like weddings, births and graduations are a great way to keep clients engaged. This contributes to increased trust, referral opportunity and relationship building. Newsletters are a more direct method of communication compared to social media or blogging, two other strategies commonly used to build connections.
Building Confidence in Your Ability Through Social Media
In 2016, especially in the real estate industry, it is essential to show movement, progression, and of course, great sales. Most house buyers are not looking for the house of their dreams, but the best home for them. By connecting clients to the best home for them, they can provide strong testimonial, key content to be published on your social media accounts. Overall, real estate agents must communicate their ability to match homes with clients and build relationships with past, current and potential clients to best increase their leads and improve their business..
Price Under Marker Value
If the fair market value of a house is $500,000 for example, sometimes I advise my sellers to list slightly below the market value. What this does is it exposes the property to so many more potential buyers & so many buyers schedule appointments to view the property. This often results in multiple offers being written on the property & a bidding war ensues. This benefits the seller, in many cases the final purchase price ends up surpassing the fair market value. People want what other people want, so they keep bidding up!!
Limit Showings & Create Deadline
By limiting the showings of a property to one open house, this means many buyers will come in to see the house during this 3 or 4 hour window as that’s the only opportunity to see the house. This almost ensures that an open house will be packed with potential buyers. The more crowded the open house, the more buyers feel like everyone else is going to bid for this property so I’ll bid the highest.
If the open house is on a Saturday, I like to create a deadline to receiving all offers by noon on Monday. What this does is it also creates a sense of urgency & subconsciously buyers automatically prepare to compete with other offers.
Again it just plays on the notion of “people want what other people want”.
Most consumers considering purchasing real estate deliberate for months (or even years) before finally deciding on a property, and they’ll often spend significant time using the Internet to look at the various options available to them. This means it’s likely that they’ve visited your website several times to take a look at any available properties, which presents the perfect opportunity for retargeting.
For real estate, email retargeting is probably the most effective marketing method to use. The emails can be kept in the inbox and referred to when the customer feels ready to purchase the real estate.
Great way to let literally hundreds of thousands of people in the community know about the listing, I will do this for all my listings, it works like magic. Exposing the listing to the highest number of people is what really brings in the money for the seller once people start to compete for the property.
Professional Videography, Photography, And Even Drone Footage
According to the real estate association 90% of buyers are first drawn to a property (online or otherwise) by good quality photographs. Don’t use your smartphone! This is one area you want to spend your money. Bright, spacious, clean photos bring people in!
On some listings I will use facebook, instagram, and community outlets to advertise an event in the home for sale. This is not just an open house – this is a social gathering for everyone in the community to visit a well staged home fit to sell, complete with food, drinks, and even live music (if the home is large enough).
Network – Use Others’ Businesses To Your Advantage
One thing I love to do is use other people’s talents in selling a home – They will advertise for me! For example, I have many friends who are very talented artists, I often stage homes with their art. It helps sell the home and they do a lot of advertising for me as well to show of their work. It gets a lot of attention.
Always Hire a Professional Photographer
Images sell. As simple as that. By our nature we are very visual and professional photography makes the property shine. In fact, realtors that invest in real estate photography sell homes 32% faster and for 10-20% higher prices.
Make Sure All Your Marketing Is Trackable
Why would you spend money on marketing and not be able to track it? If it’s not trackable, how do you know it is even producing.
3 tips to make sure all of your marketing of a property is trackable:
1. Use unique URLs for all of your properties and attach Google analytics to them. www.123AnywhereSt.com or www.yourwebsite.com/123anywherestreet
2. Use tracking numbers in all advertising. You could use a toll free number with extensions or use local numbers you rent to track the incoming calls.
3. Make sure all paper materials, (flyers, postcards, etc.) point people to these unique numbers and webistes.
4. If you syndicate your listings to Zillow, Trulia, etc., make sure your profile is up to date and you make sure that the comments include your contact information or at least your name.
If you do all of these things you will not only be able to track the effectiveness of your marketing but you can also show your results to new prospects and you know that hardly anyone is doing that.
Professional Pictures Go a Long Way
Don’t skimp on pictures. Spend the money and get a professional to make your place look like a million bucks. Yes, your property will essentially sell itself, but to do that you need to entice people to walk in the front door, and pictures (and video) are what make that happen.
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Speak Directly to the Perfect Buyer in All Your Marketing
Don’t just regurgitate the features of the place. Instead, put those features in context of the target buyers’ daily life. Think about the most likely buyer profile for your property, and “speak” to that person in the marketing you do. For example, will the space be perfect for a young single professional, a couple with a newborn, or a couple of empty nesters, or someone who simply must have a calm, serene view? (Be careful not to touch on anything that will smell like you are referencing or pushing away any protected classes.)
Face-to-Face Marketing Generates More Sales
Go out and talk to people face-to-face. Interact with local businesses and ‘network’ as much as you can. In real estate, people often buy from someone they like and when you have an opportunity to talk with consumers in person your chances for a sale increases dramatically.
Leverage Social Media to be ‘Fun’
No one likes advertisements on social media these days. Leverage social media in a way that shows your properties, but has a light, fun message for your followers. This will not only result in more engagement, but will help you connect with millennial consumers that are just now entering the industry.
Don’t Forget About Your Website
Most people just build a real estate website and forget about it. You should be constantly trying to improve your site and adding content and photos to increase your rankings on Google and other search engines.
Utilize Visual Content
Selling real estate predominantly comes down to aesthetics, use strong, high-resolution imagery across social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Use hashtags that relate to the location of the property and its selling points to help entice people to view more on your website.
You should also produce video content. Live videos ceded out on Facebook and Periscope can be highly effective. By producing a house viewing style video, you can show a huge amount of potential clients around a property in one go. Don’t do anything differently in the video, act as if you had a client physically in the property. Viewers can post questions as you go, which you can answer in real-time. Record the video so you can use it on your website and other social media channels too. This form of informative content is loved by consumers and will help physically get them to the location.
Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. Once you’ve created great content, advertise it across social media. This is a cheap and effective way to reach people who may be interested in the property. You can target people based on location, age, gender, interests and much more, allowing you to target your ideal demographic and encourage them to come and view the property.
Consider Inexpensive Ways to Boost “Sexiness”
The trick is to find items that are inexpensive to install, but that stand out in real estate listings. Buyers and renters make housing decisions largely on a subconscious, emotional level, then use reason to justify those decisions, so as a seller you want to brainstorm ideas that make the home feel chic, modern, sexy… without breaking the bank. For example, you can install almost any type of “smart home” technology for less than $200: smart door locks, smart thermostats, smart security systems, smart smoke and CO detectors, even smart coffee makers… each can be bought in the $100-200 range. I once bought a used Jacuzzi tub on Craigslist for $700, put it on the rear deck, and then asked $5,000 more than we were originally planning. The phone rang off the hook for showing requests.
The Right Words Really Can Add $10,000 to the Sales Price
According to a Zillow study earlier this year, the word “luxurious” added 8.2% to the sales price of lower-tier homes for sale. Among higher-tier homes, the word “captivating” added 6.5%. They go to identify 15 words that added value to home listings, from “impeccable” to “landscaped” to “pergola”.
Be sure to remind prospects of the expected benefits for a certain neighborhood, but also be sure to point out better-than-expected features of this particular home. People shopping in a trendy urban neighborhood expect to be able to walk to many amenities, so remind them the home is “a five-minute walk from Whole Foods”, but also point out the home has surprisingly spacious bedrooms for this popular urban neighborhood.
Unless the home needs repairs and is being sold as-is, it should be perfectly clean inside and out, with flawlessly groomed landscaping and floors you can eat off of.. The name of the game is first impressions, and nothing turns prospective buyers or renters off more than other people’s dirt and grime (especially in kitchens or bathrooms). If there isn’t much landscaping to speak of, you can still find ways to spruce up the front of the house and boost curb appeal, by adding bright-colored potted plants. The nice thing about potted plants is you can reuse the same ones over and over, and move them from listing to listing as you make sales (just make sure the contract excludes the plants).
Lastly, be sure to include lots of photos of your perfectly presentable home with the listing.
Write For Humans And Bots
Listing descriptions should appeal to both human readers and search engine spiders. Both have short attention spans so put the most important features of the property as close to the top as possible. On your personal website use a slightly different property description so that bots don’t see it as duplicate content.
Curate Your Photos
It’s tempting when you pay for 50-100 photos from a professional photographer to put them all in the listing description. This however can decrease the likelihood of showings if the potential buyer sees something they don’t like. You don’t need to show every room of the house and every detail, concentrate on the most visually appealing photos and also make sure you have a few single images that will work for social sharing. You can use different photos in different configurations, perhaps a smaller set for the MLS and a more expanded set on a property or brokerage website.
Use Video To Tell The Story
Most clients wants a video but not all agents provide them. A video can do more than just show off the house, it can also showcase the neighborhood and local features. Now with Facebook live and Snapchat video there are additional ways to create an in-the-moment experience of the home and the neighborhood. By 2017, video will be nearly 3/4 of internet traffic and video is increasingly a part of the real estate discovery experience.
Invest In A Professional Photo/Video Shoot
Hire a local photographer that can also shoot/edit video. Have him/her take professional pictures at your office and on location at a home. Make sure you also arrange for some of your top clients to come to your office to get photographed and record video testimonials.
This entire photo and video shoot can be accomplished in 90-minutes. It will provide you with hundreds of pictures and great video content. This can be applied to your website, social media channels, online advertisements, direct mail and much more.
The key to obtaining successful content is to make sure you plan out the entire shoot based on location, who you’ll interview and what key points you want to get across. If you prepare, you will obtain amazing assets for your marketing channels.
Timing is Everything
If at all possible, list on a Thursday and host an open house on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday directly following the listing. You can door knock and circle call around the area informing neighbors about the upcoming open house and to “choose their neighbors.” It’s also a good idea to list well before the open house on the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Facebook.
Snail Mail Still Works
Just listed postcards to the neighbors and sphere. You can have this automated using Prospect Plus. Mailing renters in the area and letting them know they could own the house for $XXX/month for less than they’re paying for rent. We’ve also seen success with mailing local area investors (if applicable to the property) and your database talking about the ROI.
Blogs & Videos
If you have a strong online following, creating a blog post on the property can help capture interest, especially if it’s a unique listing. What we love to do is also create a teaser video using our DJI drone of a new property coming to the market.
Social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, etc.. Link all of your social media profiles together by using www.ifttt.com.
This site will allow you to tie together your accounts so if you post on one application it will be applied to all, this is a great way to save time and keep all accounts updated.
Run Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ads. These companies allow highly-targeted ads to run to the exact demographic that a potential buyer may come from.
We do this by initially creating a YouTube video. YouTube is important because it ranks very high on google searches so your videos will be easy to find when searching your name or the property address. We then load the videos to the appropriate social media and “boost” or promote the video to whatever demographic we may be targeting.
If you are hosting an Open House in a few days you can boost that video to a 2-mile radius of the home, people aged 35-65+, household income of $100K+. The demographic data these companies offer is pretty accurate so it allows for cost effective advertising.
Create A Facebook Business Page
Promote your services on there and try to grow a following. Once a client “likes” your page they will begin to see your posted content on their timeline. Share your posts to the wall of the clients’ home you are advertising. This shows your client the types of marketing you are doing, but it also promotes that post to all of the clients connections as well.
Install pixels on these ads to allow for re-targeting to these potential clients. Re-targeting remains to be a cost effective way of marketing to a client who has shown interest.
Get reviews on sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Yelp, Realtor.com. Profiles with just 5-10 reviews get 50% more traffic than profiles with 0 reviews.
Provide a professional photographer to capture the property at its best. According to a Redfin study, homes that are professionally photographed sell for at least $934 and as much as $18,819 more than homes photographed by an amateur. The study also shows that homes photographed by a professional garner 61 percent more online views. We understand that web appeal of our listings is a huge selling point, this is why we hire a professional photographer for every home.83% of home buyers believe the most valuable feature of a website is the photos. This is why it is imperative for our listings to have the best possible photos online.
Single Property Websites
Provide a unique single-property website solely for the purpose of marketing the home to potential buyers. Buyers can use this site to view information and photos of your home while also scheduling a showing with just a click.
Print marketing of the home including newspaper ads, brochures, flyers and postcards. 79% of households say they read direct-mail, sending out 5,000 postcards allows over 3,900 potential buyers in the neighborhood to see the ad.
Blogging & SEO
Create great blog content consistently. This is extremely important and helps SEO rankings immensely.
Sponsor local charities or events. This is a great way to give back to your community while also marketing yourself.
Stay In Touch
Email drip campaign your farm area or database. Make sure content is local and thought provoking, if not clients will not engage.
Start using video for listings. It allows potential buyers to get a better idea of the actual space. Also, 3D cameras and drones are extremely important when marketing a home online.
Look To Buy What You Want to Sell
The first thing to do is to look to buy the same home you are looking to sell. Do a search on real estate specific web sites for the same number of bedrooms and baths, and for as many of the features it allows which are similar and within the same general vicinity.
When the results come up, select to review from lowest price to highest price. Carefully review every similar property which comes up no matter what the price. If there is a photo spread, look at every photo. Keep a list of the best selling points from each ad, as well as which elements of the photo(s) which best catch your attention.
Do an honest comparison of the best selling points and photos you find from all of these ads. For your next step, go back online and search for recently sold homes in your community and note prices on recently sold similar homes.
Next, expand your geographic parameters. Search for a similar home for sale in a different city/state with a similar climate and size, using the same criteria. Make separate notes about what you like and don’t like about each ad. Doing this can lead to more selling points than other local agents are currently using.
Go back and review the highest priced properties within your search parameters. What do they have that yours doesn’t? Is it something you could easily add? If not, are there ways to show the value of yours?
For example, suppose a similar home to yours has a built-in swimming pool and yours doesn’t. Your selling points could include “Close to city park & pool”. Without saying it, make someone researching area think “I could save $10,000 by walking to a pool someone else maintains!”.
Ideally, by comparing the home you wish to sell against others for sale, you will come up with both unique features and specific selling points. Your best result is to be able to list the home with something along the lines of “largest bedrooms and closest to train station of any 3 bedroom home in (community)!”.
Many agents fail to update their information and selling points regularly. Take notice of how long the properties you are looking at have been on the market. You might find ads which haven’t changed in six months, thus taking away any urgency to pursue that property. Your property should always be advertised with “fresh” information and be updated frequently whether the price changes or not.
Continue to monitor the advertising of those similar local properties and watch for others coming on the market. You need to make sure that your selling points are still current along with looking out for newer ones.
Identify Your Probable Buyers
For instance, if you are listing a larger home in a neighborhood known for its great schools, identify your probable buyers and leverage your online marketing to target those buyers. For the house in this example, your most likely buyers will be a family with children needing good schools and a larger home.
Reverse Prospect on MLS
Most MLS systems now allow Realtors to reverse prospect to find agents who have clients looking for a home in the area of your new listing. Contact these agents and let them know about your new listing.
Contact All Realtors Who Have Sold A Home In The Neighborhood
Contact all agents who have sold a home in the neighborhood within the past year. Most likely, they have some “sideline buyers” who are just waiting for the right house to hit the market. Sideline buyers do not search daily so they may not see your new listing. Be proactive and reach out to these other agents.
Price It Right
The best marketing strategy ever invented is called “price it right.” The thought of pricing it high and expecting a buyer to “make an offer” is a myth. Pricing it high is a barrier to the prospective buyer seeing the property at all.
Set Up The Property Appropriately
Furnish rooms for their intended use. In other words, a dining room should showcase dining room furniture. Not a weight bench or pool table. These items should be removed and placed in storage off-site. An empty room is better than one not set for its designed function.
Whether there is a showing appointment scheduled for that day or not, whenever leaving the house be sure that it is in show ready condition. (Especially if your schedule doesn’t allow you to shoot home on a moment’s notice to prepare the house for a showing)
Think something is missing? Comment below and let us know your best real estate marketing ideas!