Wow. We have come a long way! I remember a dozen years ago working with brokers to create a marketing plan that would be effective in their local markets. It was a complex process that involved trying and evaluating a multitude of advertising vehicles available to create a short list of tools that would work together to make a marketing system. Each local market was a little different and so the system was a little different from office to office.
Today, we have finally reached the point where marketing is almost a prescription. The system is easy and consistent, and it works in almost every market.
Core Marketing – those things every broker needs to have working all of the time – is really five things:
1. EDDMs to the carefully defined target market. At Summit last year, we refined the target market down to a collection of very active carrier routes. Instead of shotgunning 10,000 households with an EDDM, we targeted a smaller more active group, maybe 1500 – 4,000 households. Whether you go out with EDDMs once a month or every six weeks is driven mostly by budget.
2. Arounds within that carefully defined target market. Every time a competitor gets a new listing in the target, we postcard or door hang every home up and down the street around the listing. The reason is obvious: usually when one listing appears another follows within a week or two. We want these possible sellers to have our information at this time.
3. For Sale By Owners. This is a broader target. Of course you want to be all over FSBOs that occur in your target market (Expired Listings, too – I tend to lump them together). But you also want to expand beyond your target as well. You have the best and most appealing program for FSBOs.
4. C.I.s. Anyone who knows your name and associates it with real estate needs to hear from you regularly. Of course we have the built in automatic CI program in OMS which reaches out to these important people 8 times a year, but occasional phone contact is important as well.
5. Just Listed/Just Sold cards. These go around all of your own listings, whether in your target market or not.
That’s it. That’s the core of Help-U-Sell Marketing. It’s what every broker needs to have in place and running every day. Then it’s just a matter of adding in appropriate items as they become available. Perhaps a newspaper campaign makes sense or radio or Little League sponsorship. These are added to the core marketing, not substituted for it. Always the goal is to be more visible.
Now, let me take a minor detour to make a case for something many of us have abandoned: seller participation. Let’s assume you have the five key pieces of core marketing cranked up and producing. You are making a real impact on your target market as they are seeing your information multiple times throughout the year. You know it’s working because you’re getting listings in your target.
What if you start talking with your sellers about the benefits and potential savings of participating in the marketing by holding their own open houses? Assume you have 3 listings in your 3,000 household target market. Let’s assume that all 3 are holding an open house on Sunday. Each puts out 7 directional signs. Can you imagine the powerful impression those 21 signs will make?
It would be just a matter of time before you became the Big Gorilla in the neighborhood!