Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How to get more FSBO listings

I was reading an article that I found particularly applicable in Broker Agent News. The article, How to Get More FSBO Listings, Without Pressure covers a basic approach to FSBO prospecting that will generally lead to a listing. The article review a few of the techniques that you should use when speaking to prospective FSBO’s, but it all comes down to a very basic premise; be nice, sincere, and offer benefit.

Many real estate agents aggressively prospect For Sale By Owner leads to get new listings. As a result, most FSBO prospects hear from multiple agents with the same pitch on a daily basis. Unfortunately the pitch is usually “Let me list your home and I will get it sold for you.” Now we all know that this is where the prospect usually ends up, but most FSBO prospects want to legitimately try to sell their home before they shift to using the services of a REALTOR.

Instead of starting your relationship with your prospect the same way all of your competitors do, start your relationship with your prospect under the premise “Let me help you sell your home.” There are a number of tools that a REALTOR can offer a FSBO prospect to help them market their home. These tools are generally well appreciated by the prospects who still eventually still end up giving an agent their listing. An example is a simple FSBO website that the prospect can use to create a presence on the internet.

Regardless of the tool, differentiate yourself from your competition when prospecting FSBO leads. Approach your prospects with a sincere offer to help them reach their goals. Statistics say that they will list with a REALTOR. Odds are they will list with the one that has tried to help them most.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How does the local agent cover the cost of their marketing?

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day regarding the calculation of their return on investment for their marketing activities. The conversation started because of the observation that one of the most media present agents in the area has ads appearing on every sign post, bus stop and street corner. Both my friend and I are doubtful that the agent is making a decent return on investment, but it was worth some time to do a few rough calculations.

This may or may not apply to you own investment in marketing, but here is my rough assumptions and calculation.

- Average take home per sale $10,000 (hey, it’s San Diego County)
- Monthly rent for space on a bus stop: $700
- Monthly mailing of postcards or letters: $2000
- Monthly cost of local media advertising: $1200
- Monthly online marketing: $200
- Area farming: $600
- Miscellaneous marketing activities: $2500
Total monthly marketing costs $7200

Now in general your marketing cost should be between 10% and 20% of your revenue; with some businesses investing as much as 50% of their income in marketing their real estate businesses. If we assume that due to the new shift in the market the agent has more listings than sales and is pushing around 40% of his revenue into attracting new clients; the agent should be collecting about $18,000 per month. Given the average commission of around $10,000, it should just take the sale of two homes to cover that agent’s investment in marketing. The agent has a lot of listings in the area so I have no doubt that they are at least selling two homes per month.

My math is most likely wrong, but it was an interesting conversation and analysis.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Human communication is key to REALTOR Marketing

Jen Blackert posted an interesting article this week on Broker Agent News on ten easy ways to attract clients with your email newsletter. The article points out a very basic tentant of online advertising that is well worth repeating…. Humanize your communication. Whether it is online through podcasts and email REALTOR marketing tools, or off-line through flyers and introduction letters, humanize your communication to your target client. In this world of instant and anonymous communication, your most successful real estate marketing endeavors will be those that help you create a human connection to your target clients.

For Jen, her advice follows the basics of relationship building. Tell your client about yourself and educate them about who you are and the value that you offer. Share your interests with them (can anybody say real estate blog) and show that you care by asking for and responding to feedback. Clarify your communication and use terms that most lay-people would understand. Be genuine (first rule of blogging and online communities) and relate to your client’s interest, fears and concerns. Finally…. And this goes back to prospecting engines…. Stay in touch. Once you have a prospect, keep your brand equity high. Here’s the link to Jen’s article.

Real Estate Flyers and Organic Search Traffic

It’s amazing where organic online traffic comes from. I have been doing a fair amount of analysis lately and the highest traffic key word for the 4MySales blog is actually free real estate flyers The second keyword that drives most of my non-long tail traffic is free real estate letters. I, much like most in the blogsphere, am not sure why these specific terms are showing up in the first few pages of google and yahoo. I have tried to gear this blog toward exploring marketing tools for REALTORS and have spent a great deal of time discussing more abstract concepts such as prospecting engines, online social networks, and really using your computer to attract real estate sales leads. Well, I think it is safe to say that SEO is still an enigma.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Increasing search engine ranking using real estate flyers

I am trying a little experiment in search engine optimization to evaluate how blogging and different blog topics and entries show up on search engines. I am using popular search terms such as real estate Arizona and broker leads to evaluate search engine traffic. Here’s an overview of the experiment.

1) I have gone to Google Adwords to find the most well searched search terms that are related to broker leads and real estate marketing tools. According to google, real estate agents that are searching for leads, flyers and marketing tools search most often under the following search terms: real estate leads and leads real estate, marketing for real estate, real estate agent marketing, real estate internet marketing, direct mail leads, leads for realtors, realtor promotion, realtor promotional items and realtors leads.

2) Now that I have identified these highly visible search terms for real estate marketing, I simply add these terms to the vernacular of various blog posts. Over the next few months, look for these strategically placed realtor marketing terms. I will gradually be placing the terms and measuring traffic results through hittail and mybloglog.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. If the experiment is successful, there will be a bit more organic search traffic to the 4MySales blog

Real estate farming letters are just the beginning

Real estate farming letters have been the mainstay of most agent’s marketing programs since the industry began. These, coupled with other online and off-line initiatives can be a great resource in the continual fight to differentiate yourself from the competition.
A lot of agents search for free real estate farming letters, or templates that they can modify to suite their own needs. This approach may have some benefit, but if you are trying to differentiate yourself from every other agent out there, I would recommend approaching your farming letters and your entire marketing plan from a completely different direction.

Most agents do not realize that it takes more than five exposures to their name and offer before a mail recipient will even recognize their name. If you don’t believe me, just think about how you answer most of your junk mail. In order to stand out from the crowd, take a much more strategic approach to your direct mail and incorporate it into a much larger marketing campaign. If you have an area that you are farming, try to find a way to expose every target client to your message at least five times in a relative short period. A simple way to do this is to send everybody on your list a direct mail message in an envelope. I recommend including a piece of candy or something in the envelope to ensure that it gets opened. The next week send out a postcard with an offer or raffle as your call to action. Next place signs at the entrances of the communities that you are farming (be sure to get the proper permits, or plan to have you signs taken down by the city.) For the next week, send out another round of envelopes and place your flyers on the bulletin boards of the local grocery and library. Follow that week with door hangers that have another call to action and offer.

This is a very basic approach to marketing, but it will start the ball rolling. The goal is to get everyone in the community that you are farming with your letters to recognize your name. After that, you just need to remain active enough in the area to maintain your brand awareness in the minds of your target client. By maintaining a top of the mind awareness with your prospects, you will ensure that you will be their first phone call when it is time to call upon the resources of a REALTOR.

Ten steps to a great podcast

So back to blogging and making posts. I still am struggling with getting enough time to pen something meaningful, but I did find a great article on how to create a great podcast. This article was of specific interest to me since we are having great success with the podcasting tool and helping real estate agents podcast their message to their waiting clients.

Stop in and create your own podmail in under five munites at

Okay, back to the article. It was posted on Marketing Profs and details the top ten steps to creating a great podcasts. I have repeated them below in an extremely abbreviated format, but read the entire article to get a better idea of the rationale behind each step.

So um…. Step 1:
DO RESEARCH – I am sure that we are acutely aware of topics that turn us on and topics that turn us off. Make sure that the topics that you choose to broadcast are of interest to your listening public. As an example, very few people are excited about hearing a list of current homes available for viewing. However many people are interested to hear about the current market, any planned buildings or re-zoning activity in their community, school updates, etc. Before creating a podcast, spend some time at Starbucks listening to what people in your community are talking about.

Step 2
Determine the format of your show: Is it a talk show, interview, general commentary. Will it be raucous or generally subdued. Plan the format of your podcast the same way you plan the format of your blog. Make it real and make it genuine, but make it entertaining.

Step 3
Determine what equipment you will need. Seriously, just try the podcasting system. We put a pretty heavy investment in place to make it easy and user friendly.

Step 4
Select the program that you will use to create your podcast. See step 3 above.

Step 5
Write the layout of the show and begin rehearsing. Rarely will you be able to pull off a podcast in one take. For me, even voicemail is a challenge.

Step 6
Record the main body of the show: My take on this is break it up into specific segments for ease of editing and recording.

Step 7
If applicable, select beginning and closing music.
Step 8
Select a podcast host.. So the article makes this point number nine, but step 8 in the article is related to step 7. With regard to a podcast host, dare I say

Step 9
Promote your podcast. I recommend announcement emails (included in 4MySales) along with other means of direct promotion.

Overall, my advice is to read the article and learn about the value of podcasting. When you are ready to get your feet wet, visit us at Podcasting is only one of the many features that are included for less that $20.00 per month.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The hittail is getting longer

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not had a great deal of time to make posts this year. However, previous blog entries and other, less time intensive, marketing activities have managed to carry 4MySales through this period of inactivity. In looking at my hittail report this morning, I am pleased to announce that long tail keywords such as free real estate flyers, real estate marketing tools, real estate follow up letters as well as real estate agent online have contributed to over 62.6% of all of the generic search traffic to this real estate blog and the Real Estate Marketing website. Hopefully I will have time over the next few weeks to start posting about real estate marketing again, however, it is still nice to see that blogging works as a marketing tool.