Let's face it, when the real estate market slows down, even your best real estate marketing strategies from a few years ago may be on shaky ground.
Whether the slow down is caused by government stay-at-home orders or just the ebb and flow of your local market, it can be scary and many agents make the wrong move.
My infographic and checklist of 7 Things Agents Must Do Right Now addressed some of what agents should focus on when Covid hit and gained much attention, but I know that I do not have all of the answers and downturns happen in every market, so I went to some of the top real estate marketers that I know to ask their opinions of what real estate digital marketing should Realtors invest their time in during downturns.
I turned to 19 real estate marketing thought leaders from across the United States and asked them "What are 1 - 3 real estate digital marketing actions would you advise individual real estate agents to
a) real estate digital marketing to do more of
b) real estate digital marketing to do less of
c) and what start doing if they have not before?".
Here are the real estate digital marketing ideas they were kind enough to share with me.
Robert Brock, Owner at Brock Creative Projects
Do more of/start doing:
- Focus on creating valuable local content. This can be done with a blog, targeted community pages on your website, or simply by spending some time posting on social media. Real estate agents do not have to create generic content that only relates to buying or selling houses. People searching online can find a million websites talking about “The top 10 things to do when selling a house.” Instead, be local and be creative. What new businesses/restaurants have opened up in the area? Are there any new local attractions or events coming up? What are some interesting facts about the local history? These are examples of content that is fresh, genuinely interesting, and relatable to anyone in your area. Reveal your true passion, interest, and commitment to your community, and people will notice.
- Work on getting a handful of client case studies together. Find past clients that you were able to help and are willing to assist you in putting together a case study for your website. Walk your readers through what the client was looking for, the challenges they faced, and how you were able to find their perfect home! Agents should continually look for ways to connect to their community on a personal level.
- Get a high-quality, professional picture of yourself for your website. Very few agents have their own websites and even fewer have a photo that isn’t blurry and the size of a postage stamp. This one step will add a bit more professionalism and sense of commitment over your competitors.
Joshua Jarvis, Owner at 4rd Marketing
Do more of:
- Talk to their clients! The past 20 years has the same exact stat... 85% of people would use their agent again, but the agent failed to contact them!
- Take the extra time to organize your online strategy... with the caveat that organizing the strategy does not mean "buy all the shiny objects."
- Recognize the opportunity. Does it feel like the business is tougher now? That's a good thing! That means there will be people who quit. This means that there is more business for those that go after it. What should do you more of? Getting after it.
Do less of:
- Stop worrying about what tech companies are doing.
- Stop comparing your business to your local celebrity agent.
- Stop getting caught up in the water cooler discussions on Facebook about bad clients, and other bad agents.
John Totin, Founder at Niche Zips
- Relationships - Everything is built around relationships. If you ask any real estate professional if they had their choice of the source of all their business they would all say referrals. Referrals come from the quality of relationships you have. Invest in your relationships. Take a custom approach to each relationship. You should have a combo of both auto flow and personal flow. Auto flow is monthly newsletters, emails, mailers that go out automatically every month without you ever having to think about it. Then you have personal flow, which is phone calls, text messages, outings etc… Every person is different and it should be a custom approach to that specific person. I may take one person out golfing and another fishing, or to a steak dinner, your kids may go to school together, the possibilities to add value are endless. Do the things you enjoy and that you know they enjoy.
- Personal Custom Website - Lately, I've heard talks that websites are dead and to go social. In my opinion, that couldn't be further from the truth! You don't own Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any of the other social platforms but you can own your own website. These social platforms can change up their algorithms at any moment, up their fees, make changes to their interface etc… You don't have that worry when you own your own website. And when I say own your own site, it means having a custom site built on a platform such as WordPress… And I am not saying don't use social platforms, just don't rely on them exclusively. You should absolutely utilize social media and other channels to drive traffic to your site, re-engage with them and build awareness.
- Be yourself and be consistent - Be true to who you are. You do not have to please everyone. Speak your mind, put content out there consistently and you'll attract people who are like you and want to do business with you. After all, don't we all want to work with like minded people? And be consistent, have a plan, map out what you are going to do and what topics you are going to speak about. Take a little bit of time to truly think about your business and what you want. Don't do what the masses are doing, work your specific niche that you have an interest in.
Sinoun Chea, Founder at Shiftweb Solutions
- I would advise agents to create more content on their website! People value information and will give you more credibility if you provide information that is useful and interesting to them. Creating content is also incredibly valuable in Google’s eyes so it’ll help your rankings, too!
- I would advise agents to do less generic marketing. Think about how you can stand out from the crowd! Do something that is unique so people can remember you. Real estate marketing is saturated with boring, generic marketing that not only wastes your time, but people don’t like it and will want to “unsubscribe”. Will your marketing capture and keep leads or lose them?
- One important thing I advise agents to start doing that they have not done before is focus on a niche! Create a website that shows you’re an expert in that niche. You will create more credibility, have a better opportunity to be found online, and people will find you more trustworthy. Rather than trying to capture ALL of the market, work on becoming the expert in a niche so everyone knows who your are for that particular niche. Think about it... if you needed to hire a wedding photographer, would you hire a photographer who is an expert in wedding photography or a general photographer who does it all? This applies to the real estate industry as well and I think agents forget about this marketing strategy.
Jason Johnson, Founder & Chief Marlin at Marlin Consulting Solutions
- Individual agents have to be very aware of their communication now more than ever. Consumer confidence is key and the more they communicate about their process and how they are keeping their client safe is very important. Do not assume clients know.
Barry Carter, Founder at BC MarTech
(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)
- I would advise real estate agents to always be progressing (moving the ball forward). Sometimes the world of technology as it relates to marketing can be overwhelming. Don't try to figure it all out at one time. Bite off pieces as you can. Find someone who you can trust to guide you along. Maybe you need full-time help, but maybe you only need someone you can consult with from time to time.
Gerrick Phillips, Founder at DEV406
To better adapt to the current state of things, and be ready for the changing future, my best advice for agents would be the following:
- Provide multiple lines of communication for buyers or sellers during this time. That could include setting up video calls instead of in-person meetings with interested buyers. Instead of a property walk-through, you could offer a Zoom meeting where you share updated images or videos of the property and can answer questions in real-time. You could perhaps reach out to your clients who have active listings and discuss with them an updated strategy for moving forward. Maybe some clients would not want their homes listed until things relax a bit. I'm certain they would appreciate an agent being proactive about care for their health as well.
- If you have never developed content for your marketing efforts, now would be the time. Now would be a good time to spend extra time developing new content that you can "copy and paste" as this free time becomes more limited. Start getting familiar with top trending content online and produce similar content, catered for your area. Search Google for something that you may find clients searching for in your area. Look at the top resulting articles and maybe you could write a similar article for your area.
Greg Taylor, Founder at Trinity Web Media
- Right now is the time to create and share helpful content. Doubling down on content is never a bad thing, as long as you make sure the content adds to your audience’s lives.
- Remain optimistic and positive so your content is memorable and outlasts this period of your business. If you never considered an aggressive content strategy — now is the best time to begin.
- As a rule. We advise our clients not to get caught up in posting news or anything related to the pandemic.
Charles Oreve, CEO at The X Concept
Do More: Push the properties you are listing on you website through your social media links. Don't post photos directly on the social media network. Make sure to post links that take them to the property page on your website. Showcase IDX will allow you to capture new leads and gain information on what they will look at afterwards, that way you can review the properties they are looking at, and see if they are different from what they tell you they look for.
Do Less: Post inspirational quotes on their social media, I'm sure they get you some engagement, but not sure that's what your clients are looking for. Using your personal social media accounts for real estate purposes, separate personal and professional lives
Start Doing: Blogging - Become a Hyperlocal expert and write blogs! That will help your SEO, fill your social media, all positives.
Lance Welborn, Co-Founder at Greyroom Industry
Do More of:
Advertise yourself as the best service. The environment is changing, automation, and things like Zillow and OpenDoor will be direct competition before you know it. Discover what makes you different from that pathway and invest what you have in getting that point across. Those services are going to offer levels of convenience and expediteness that you cannot match. Therefore, what can you offer? Discover this, either it is correspondence, attention to detail, representation, honesty, working knowledge of the area's history. Advertise that, double down on what works. Invest in more organic content history or legacy, a reason to believe you to you.
Do Less of:
Agents should consider less large offices and infrastructures they don't fully understand, relying on something blindly is a dangerous practice you should mitigate at all costs. If you are using software in your company, take the time to learn it or facilitate a person that does understand it, if your not using software, get some. You will save much more in the end because good software should increase productivity and scalability, understanding these concepts put you in control of that ability. If the software doesn't inspire you, change it, if that sounds like a nightmare to consider, back to square one, facilitate yourself with someone that can provide the clear insight to make these decisions, and appreciate them for what they offer your organization. It's vital, if you don't, the outcome is lock-in.
Start if not doing already:
If organic content is not in your budget, I suggest considering ways to include it. Read about it, understand the concept, and invest. It's like compounding interest for brand equity. It won't happen overnight, but over time this creates authority, the authority provides leverage, leverage to convert. If you are already spending 1000's on PPC without a proper presence and good organic content for that to compound on, adjust your budget, and build your presence. When a user arrives there from your expensive PPC click, they need a reason to believe they made the right decision with the click. If you're using a web company and they aren't discussing this with you, then chances are high, you are using the wrong company.
Tim Emineth, Consultant at Personal SEO
- If you haven't created a Google My Business page then create one and ask for reviews I have written an article showing how to create a custom google review link. You can even create a link to takes the visitor to your GMb page and then pop up a review window.
- Increase internal linking and create site structure. Using my area as an example you would create http://domain.com/seattle/green-hill-homes-for-sale. Pick a city that you want to work in and then create all of the neighborhoods as a child of the city (the parent). Google is going to rank your site from the bottom up and authority is also created from the bottom up as well. Every child-page creates authority to every parent page.
- Organize your site. Think of a bag of skittles open the bag and then organize all of the candy by color. This is the same for your site. All buying information should be in one place (this includes posts). Your buyers' page should not link to sellers pages at all. They should be kept separate and not touch except through the main menu
Ken Rossi, Owner at Evolve Studios
Do more of:
The one thing I have always noticed in the real estate industry is lag in technology and embracing new technology. Luckily the tech has caught up, I think more agents need to embrace using or at least trying some new tools to make their process more streamlined, as we see with the advances in Showcase IDX there are incredible resources/tools CRMS, social media apps, etc. to make your workday more efficient.
Do less and start doing:
Marketing for your agency and more branding of yourself. Don't just be an agent at Berkshire Hathaway with a Berkshire micro-website and everything allowable by Berkshire, be your own Brand, build your own Company that Berkshire wants to have a piece of. Gain a following through social media, stay relevant by engaging past buyers/sellers (not all real estate all the time) but maybe you sell in a particular area like a beach town. Create your own Facebook group about the area, ask people questions about the area, what they like, hows the market, what are the good restaurants, events going on, offer advice, tell people there is a bad storm coming - ask if you can check on their property. It's an easy free way to stay in front of past clients and potentially acquire new ones.
Raj Vasa, Director of Digital Marketing at District Interactive
(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)
My biggest advice for real estate agents is to start building original content that people interested in buying/selling/renting want to read and skip the generic articles with no local relevance. Utilize tools like Google Trends to find topics that are newsworthy and put your local real estate twist on it, or just tap into the questions you are asked daily and turn them into compelling web content. This should be a no-brainer but I am continuously surprised by the lack of unique blog content on agents' websites. Now, more than ever, showcasing your local expertise through content can bring you traffic because there are more questions being asked than ever before.
My second piece of advice is don't waste this new traffic. Remarketing is a cost-effective way to stay on top-of-mind because you are only targeting people who have visited your site and pay per impression. Produce value-driven remarketing ads via Google Ads and Facebook/IG to capitalize on your content and keep your brand from fading away from memory (just don't overdo it).
Heather Farris, Pinterest Expert at Heather Farris & Co.
Real Estate Agents are so busy finding and serving clients that many of
them don't take advantage of having their own website and marketing
themselves outside of their brokerage.
My advice for these agents would be to start taking advantage of
social media, especially Pinterest during this time to get in front of a
new cold audience. With everything going on in the world I suggest they
start meeting less in person, but that's probably a given.
If they haven't used Pinterest before I think now is a great time to start.
Less than 28% of digital marketers using Pinterest there is a big blue
ocean of opportunity to get in front of new people. (source) Start by learning how to use Pinterest including SEO, creating images, and pushing content out on this platform consistently.
James McGrath, Founder of the NYC Real Estate Brokerage Yoreevo
I'd certainly recommend all agents use this downtime to start a website.
It's 2020 - if you don't have a presence online, you might as well not
exist. Unless a potential client is a referral (and often even if they are
a referral), the first thing they are going to do is search for you.
A simple website with a home page, about page, and blog is a great start. A blog, especially in markets lacking competition, can be a huge differentiator and bring in a lot of business.
Pare back on proactive outreach. People aren't thinking about buying real estate right now and don't want to know an agent is willing to help right now. It comes across as dense.
Brian Robben, CEO at Robben Media
As a real estate agent, building trust is your golden ticket to customer
acquisition. You can achieve this using videos, pre-recorded or live on
social media, to talk about the home buying or selling process. Share what
you know about the area. Discuss what you're seeing in the environment and what you project coming forward. And offer insight to what you'd personally do as a home buyer or seller.
Giving away free information shows your expertise, builds brand awareness and gives you trust with your viewers when it's time for them to buy or sell. Then, put advertising money behind these videos and target a few zip codes you'd love to work in. That will work.
Do more of:
- Reach out to previous clients for online reviews & testimonials. Social
proof is very important in the agent selection process. The more reviews & testimonials you can obtain, the better.
- Clean up your CRM and get your data and marketing lists in order.
- Post content to your blog (or social media) that is beneficial to the
local community in this trying time. Find ways to be helpful and it will
pay you back dividends.
Do less of:
During this time I recommend agents STOP self-promotional marketing. Instead of promoting yourself, use this opportunity to step up as a trusted, helpful leader in your community. This is a win-win for
everybody. People will remember you as a trusted, helpful person and it
will benefit you greatly in the long term.
Start doing, if not doing before:
For agents that do not have a website, this is the perfect time to get
setup with your own WordPress site. WordPress is perfect for real estate
agents because it has a low cost, it's very powerful, and there are a
number of ways to customize it and automate it with different themes and
When building out a WordPress Website, I recommend including information about yourself as an individual to help potential clients find you as relatable as possible. Additionally, testimonials and reviews are
important to build trust via social proof.
Last, I always recommend using a WordPress plugin that integrates with IDX so you can list all properties for sale in your market. This key feature
makes your website a helpful tool to consumers in your market, and when
paired with a strong content strategy it can help ensure your site ranks
high in search engine rankings within your market.
Kenzi Wood, Founder at Kenzi Writes
If you haven't already, now's the time to invest in your digital
presence. I know real estate relies heavily on word of mouth, but that's
not going to cut it now. You need to not only create a site for your real
estate services, but also invest heavily in blogs for that site.
Yes, people are still buying properties right now, but you have to market yourself differently. This will help you build a presence in local search, boosting your business for little to no added cost.
John Crow, CEO at Century 21 Northwest Realty
CENTURY 21 Northwest Realty has more than 100 team members in their Tempe and Glendale AZ offices. As CEO, I thought John would have unique insights both based on his leadership and what he is hearing from his team. Here is John's response:
Do more of:
- Meet new people
- Consistently work to improve your relationship with them 3
- Consistently work to remind them that you are an expert
Do less of:
- Stop buying Zillow leads
- Stop posting political opinions on social media
- Stop focusing on what you can't do right now. Engage and focus on what you can do
Start doing, if not doing before:
- Create daily contact goals
- Create weekly new relationship goals
- Monthly complete at least 50 referral source touches
There are so many great ideas from these marketing experts, but be careful of trying to do all of them.
In my experience, success comes from picking just a few of the marketing tactics that resonate with you the most and begin to implement those this month. You can always come back to this list and add another strategy into your marketing mix next month.
As I like to close my workshops and coaching sessions, focus leads to momentum, and momentum leads to success.
Before you go...
Is there something these experienced marketers have missed that you think should be included?
Any big trends you see coming that they missed?
Something that you're worried about that could put you out of business?
Share your thoughts in the comments below today...