Getting Your Sea Legs

This is the first of three marketing plans, (the second and third are for salespeople with higher budgets), and is designed for real estate professionals who have between $2,000 and $5,000 to spend on marketing over six months. The most effective way to allocate limited funds is through a clear, focused social media ad campaign. Consider this plan the foundation for salespeople of all budget levels.

Objective: Create an impactful online presence that will quickly generate enough cash flow to allow for the longer-term marketing approach of Plan Two.

Month One

A co-worker used a smartphone to shoot this agent profile of Michael Harris, REALTOR® at Realty Executives Dillon in Chula Vista, CA. In the video, Harris describes his real estate background, life experiences in the U.S. Navy, and love of old cars.
  1.  Plan your person brand—and not your company's brand—by identifying who you are, how you're unique, and what you can offer that clients want. Remember, you can't be all things to all people, so take a stand.
  2. Get to know your geography farm. Pick the neighborhood you live in or one you are familiar with and/or eager to learn more about. Go see every house that is for sale. Be the first to see every new listing. No one should know more about your neighborhood than you. The most impressive agent is the one who knows everything about the house for sale down the street. And, best of all, being this agent doesn't cost you a penny.
  3.  Identify an ideal demographic, such as teachers, lawyers, or doctors. Think long and hard about the types of people you know and who you want to target. You may already be in touch with a natural pool of people.
  4. Understanding which social media sites cater to your demographic will help determine where you want to plan an ad. For $500, you can get 500 clicks on Facebook. But if you are going after a professional demographic, such as attorneys, you might be better off with an ad on LinkedIn.
  5. Establish a personal page or profile on your chosen social network. Use the first month to get an in-depth understand of what kinds of posts are popular and who the users are. If the users don't fit your target demographic, switch to a new social media platform and try again.
  6. Unless you are an accomplished copywriter, start looking for a professional who can develop a single landing page for your ads. An ad isn't worth anything if it doesn't take the clicker to an engaging page. Expect to spend between $700 and $1,500 for a fully designed and professionally written landing page.
  7. Have a co-worker film a Q&A session with you using equipment as simple as your smartphone. Post the video on your social media sites, (and prepare to include it on your landing page once designed and written). This video will not only allow potential clients the opportunity to learn more about you, but will also introduce you to the neighborhood as a friendly face of real estate.

Month Two

  1.  Finalize the social networks you are going to use to promote content. Don't try to get on every social network. Pick one or two and really focus on these. Don't replicate your postings because they will ring hollow. Instead, devise a content strategy for each one. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are the big sites to consider.
  2. Working with a professional writer if necessary, determine what your landing page is going to say, and create a catchy story to bring viewers in. If your ad is for teachers, your landing page might tell the 500-word story of a teacher who bought a house and how he or she did so in this market. Be sure to include a simple step for teachers who are interested in buying by requesting their name and address. E-mails are less desireable as people can easily drop your follow-ups into spam. Avoid asking for a phone number—people are more likely to share their address without this.
"Our assistant filmed the video with his iPhone. We posted it on our YouTube TV channel named 'Price Aamodt Team' on an Internet TV show we call 'What I Would Buy Today'. We posted the video on Facebook and e-mailed it to a few chosen clients. It had over 90 views in a few days, and over 240 views so far. The ultimate buyer instructed their designer to view it to help their redesign. He and his staff viewed it several times in an effort to assist with the renovation that began immediately after closing. We now use it for listing presentations." —The Price Aamodt Real Estate Team, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Month Three

  1.  Launch your landing page in conjunction with your social media ad.
  2. Create a letter on a personalized letterhead to follow up with your leads. The letter should not be a resume, but rather another catchy message to your targeted demographic. The purpose of this letter is to emerge from the realm of social media as a tangible entity and leader; someone who can physically guide people to their new homes. By reaching out to potential clients in print, you are essentially taking them to the next level. If you stay consistent with these simple print follow-ups for 3 to 6 months, you will generate a steady flow of business. "Print is the greatest closing tool for online advertising," Herder says.
  3. Begin to consistently post on your social media sites. Offer links to resourceful articles and photos of homes you find interesting in your farm. Make your posts engaging, conversational, and helpful rather than a barrage of listings.

Month Four

  1.  Monitor your social media ads and presence. Focus on testing many different things. Experiment with alternative content, and try to update at different times on different days. Find out which call to action works the best and gets the greatest response.
  2.  Start an organized log of all inquiries, leads, and phone calls. If a specific tactic is not delivering, switch it up a bit.

Month Five

  1.  Continue to monitor your ads and social media presence.
  2.  Continue to send print letters on letterhead to leads generated from your landing page.
  3.  Mail a customized follow-up letter with a reminder to leads if you have not heard from them.

Month Six

  1.  Take a simple mobile phone video of a listing that might appeal to your target demographic and upload it to YouTube. Include your contact information at the end of the video. 
  2.  Promote this video link on your social media sites.
  3.  Mail a postcard to your leads that promotes this video and sends them to your YouTube link.
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