Are Your Real Estate Marketing Strategies Obsolete?

If you’re having a tough time getting leads, prospects and sales for your real estate listings, don’t blame the market just yet. Playing the blame game won’t get you anywhere.
Instead take a look at your own real estate marketing strategies and ask yourself if these are still in tune with what consumers are doing.
i found you!
Too often real estate agents spend so much time in the field that they get tunnel vision: meaning they don’t take stock and look what’s happening in the overall scheme of things. They think they’re too busy to read, study or keep themselves in step with the latest real estate buying trends.

It is these agents who’ll wake up one day wondering why their usual selling tactics are no longer working  and their sales pipeline has dried up.

And if you think reassessing marketing plans applies only when sales are down, think again. Initial successes actually blinds you from a painful reality check that will come crashing down when you least expect it.

Rapid Changes + Slow Reaction = Failure

Face the truth that change is not only constant, it is happening at a very rapid pace. Your marketing techniques may have worked well in the past but if you don’t bother to check what’s happening on the ground, those tried and proven techniques will end up obsolete.
To illustrate, check out data below which is among gold-mine of insights released by the National Association of Realtors last February 2012 in their NAR 2011 Home Buyer And Seller survey:

  • 9 out of 10 home buyers use the internet to search for a home to buy
  • 9 out of 10 of home buyers used a real estate agent to help them with their search…they found these agents by using, again…the internet
  • 55% of home buyers also say yard signs helped them with their house hunting
  • Only 45% of buyers attend open houses
  • Just 30% of prospective buyers respond to newspaper advertising
While the NAR report goes on to reveal a ton of other very useful stats, the 5 items listed above should be more than enough reason to seriously rethink your real estate marketing strategy.
Use data to create more powerful strategies 
Serious real estate agents / realtors should start asking themselves these crucial questions:

a.) Do I have an online presence?

If yes, are my listings and my realty agency / practice easily found on the search engines using relevant keywords?

laptop businesswoman

Is my website or blog found at least on the first page of the search results for relevant keywords?

b.) Am I making full use of my property for sale signs?

Are my “For \Sale” signs easy to read, well designed and helping me project a professional image?

b.) Should I hold regular or just special open houses?

c.) Am I wasting money on newspaper ads?

If my newspaper ads are still delivering results, how often should I advertise?

How much budget should I allocate so I can redirect resources to other more effective activities?

These are just a few of the many critical questions you should ask about your present real estate marketing activities.If your present techniques are no longer working then chances are your real estate selling strategies are becoming obsolete.
Bottom line: read, study and adjust to market realities. 
How about you? Do you think some of your marketing methods are becoming obsolete? Leave a comment.

Losing Out To More Established Brokers? Try Blogging

Like politics, it is said that all real estate is local. If you have managed to establish your reputation as an expert and a fair dealing professional in your local community, congratulate yourself. You have just built a huge advantage over your competition. 

However, if you're just a beginner with no connections you may be in for a tough time. As you have realized few people would want to do business with a nobody. This is because they want to deal only with trustworthy experts and not waste their time with a newbie. It might sound unfair but that's the way it is. Why would you entrust your hard earned money / property to an amateur when you know a lot of pros?

Clients. They get defensive.
Real estate selling: tough for newbies

I personally experienced the heartaches of starting a real estate career. I was 22 when I got my broker's license and while I was quite confident of my selling skills and knowledge (I studied real hard plus I was lucky to have an experienced mentor who looked after me like a father), getting the attention of property owners and A-list buyers was really difficult. 
For one thing, my age worked against me. Most people wanted to deal with experienced and well known realtors because they have the rep and street cred. Many of these real estate stalwarts also had money to spend on branding and attending social events for networking / rubbing elbows with the local rich & famous while I had barely enough for normal business logistics. 
They also had long established connections through their school or family ties that I don't have. I had no choice but to work my way up, one deal at a time.
How to level the paying field
Blogging can amplify your expertise on a specific subject

Fortunately for newly minted agents and brokers, you can don't need to spend lots of money and time just to show to the whole world (and potential clients) your real estate knowledge. 

Now, you can enhance your own personal brand, demonstrate your expertise and give prospective clients a glimpse of your charming personality 🙂 by using a quick, easy to use and best of all free tool on the internet: blogging.
Thanks to the wide availability of the internet many people are now familiar with blogs and chances are you may even be using one now. But if you're not really sure what a blog is here's the standard definition: a blog or a weblog is simply an online journal where people publish or post their personal thoughts on a specific subject. 
Show your expertise via blogging
There are millions of blogs maintained by people for personal purposes. However, for professionals and businessmen like yourself, you can use a blog as a way to share your opinions and expertise related to real estate.
By regularly publishing valuable articles, videos and other helpful information for your readers, you can establish your reputation as an expert without being preachy or pushy. The key as always is genuine, factual and useful content — something that your audience will feel good and empowered. Make sure they walk away feeling more informed than ever before about a specific topic after they read your blog article or post.
Blogger is one the most popular and free blogging platforms

Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not really that hard. If you know how to use a word processor, then there's no reason why you cannot create a very good blog. 

You can always open a blogging account with or Both blogging platforms are free and easy to use if you don't want to spend on a domain name & hosting (btw, it's always better to get your own domain & hosting).
Content is what matters
Having a blog is one thing. Demonstrating your expertise is another.  What you are going to put on your blog is more important than what your blog looks like. Substance first before form. However, to project a professional image, it is also must that your blog looks organized and neat but that can come a bit later.
Despite the popularity of blogs, many real estate agents and realtors are  hesitant to start posting content on their blogs and the main excuse is that they don't know what to write. Well, frankly there are actually tons of topics to write about.
What to blog or write about

To illustrate, you can write a short article about a specific neighborhood in your professional opinion about a recent government infrastructure or project in the area and how it might affect property values. You can also share ideas on how to make a home more marketable and valuable. Share something about the local community such as events and activities. 

Always share something that adds value to your readers
Your blog can also contain articles about recent news items that affect the real estate industry in particular or the economy in general. Topics like taxation, new policies on housing or construction. Recently passed national or local legislation affecting property owners are also interesting topics to blog about. All in all, there's an inexhaustible supply of subjects or topics you can write about that your readers will really appreciate.
Change how people see you
Remember your stories if created properly will  give clients the impression that you are indeed the local expert. What's more, your blog readers will get to see you in a different light. By blogging consistently and giving useful information, you will no longer be seen as “just one of those agents” or “some realtor”. You will now be perceived as an authority, someone who doesn't just list and sell houses.
Consistent blogging will make you influencer
As you continue blogging, many readers will start following your blog and even subscribe to it. Think of yourself as a magazine publisher who have managed to gather loyal followers. This means you now have significant influence on a number of people who by now are convinced of your credibility and expertise. In short, you have now become an influencer.
A few rules before you start
Before you start blogging away, you need to keep in mind a few rules and tips to make the activity worth your while and bring you profits. 
Blogging if not done properly can also potentially backfire on you. You end up losing credibility instead of gaining it. To avoid that problem, here are some basic things you need to remember:
Plagiarists. People avoid them like a plague.
  • Be real and honest – If you want to be seen as an expert you need to be a real expert. I am not talking about degrees or awards but those can help a lot. What I really mean is that: you should really know what you are talking about.  
  • Don't try to pretend to know – Readers can easily spot a fraud and a poser. Please don't be one. It's painful, very damaging to your rep and you may never fully recover such a fiasco. If you don't know anything about the subject then do your homework first —- study before you write. 
  • Write only original stuff – You can do research to know more about an issue but plagiarizing someone's work (worse, you don't even acknowledge the source) is a mortal sin, online and offline. People will avoid you like a plague if you are caught copying another person's content. 
  • Use conversational language – Talk to your reader like she or he's your best friend.  Make it casual but avoid using street language too much. Don't forget: you are maintaining a blog to share professional views and information not a personal blog.
  • Use images, photos, slides and videos to break up text and engage your readers – Leave the wordy text to the attorneys who create your contracts. You want to share information the easiest and most enjoyable way you can. Make sure though your images are relevant to the subject matter. 
  • Share your personal stories – A blog should share more of your personal side than your main business website. It's okay to share some personal stories but make sure it has something to do with what your readers are interested in. If you spent a vacation in a beach, don't just write about what you ate or did, show interesting stuff to your real estate readers. Write about the beautiful beach properties or houses you captured on your cam and say something about the luxury or vacation property market. 
  • Do not sell properties on the blog or solicit listings – Yup, you read that right. Do not try to make a sales pitch on your blog. Do that in your website. Blatant and self-serving content almost always turns off readers. If you need to feature a house that you are selling then try to write it in a way that doesn't read like an advertisement. Make it a feature story if you must write about a specific listing. Maybe say something about the architecture or designer, an oddity or something really unique.  
  • Focus on your strengths – It's hard to be an expert in a lot of fields. If your real expertise and strength is on the local community then focus on that. Demonstrate to your readers why you are THE local expert on the subject.
  • Share and distribute it – What's the point of writing a very good post if no one gets to read it. Onc you've published your content go and share it freely. Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also email your post to your friends and prospects (if the information is relevant to them). 

    There are a lot more rules about blogging to project a professional image but those would be best for another blog post. However, if there is one thing consistent about these rules and tips, it is this: it's always about the reader. 

    Focus on your readers and give them valuable information and in no time your stature a real estate practitioner will surely rise. In no time, leads, inquiries and referrals will start coming your way.

    How about you? Are you using blogs to help market and brand yourself? I would like to hear about your experience so please leave a comment below.


    A Big Opportunity To Learn Facebook Marketing — The Right Way

    My August 2011 blog post on Facebook Marketing – Common Blunders Made By Real Estate Agents & Brokers  got a lot comments and reactions from realtors and agents looking to exploit the social network to gain more real estate prospects and leads. 

    Learn how to be a Facebook marketing ninja

    Aside from the positive and encouraging feedback from that particular blog post, I also got a lot questions on other Facebook marketing best practices applicable for real estate selling. While I am happy to give a lot of more of these tips, I usually end up directing them to google or even visit Facebook's site for more practical and easy ways to attract prospective real estate buyers and increase audience engagement given that the subject is so broad that it will take several posts just to even scratch the surface.

    Even with the links I've shared lets admit it: searching and poring over Facebook's guides on the web takes time and can be a boring and dull exercise.Fortunately, Facebook it seems has heard the “cries for help” from professionals and businesses asking for a more comprehensive and engaging way to learn how to use the network to grow their business. 

    From November 1-16, Facebook will be holding its first ever Marketing Bootcamp designed to teach marketing managers, business owners and other interested parties the best way on how to leverage the social media giant to their advantage.

    The bootcamp includes a series of Webinars, Live Question and Answer (Q&A) spots as well as weekly Facebook marketing tips. What's more the first 5,000 people who sign up for the event will get a free $25 Facebook ad coupon (24-48 hours after sign up) and another $100 in coupons if they can add 100 more people to their Facebook pages from November 1-30. 


    Here's what you get:

    a.)  Learn the best tricks and practices to get your business in front of your targeted customers 

    b.) Free advertising dollars for your property listings or website 

    c.) Invaluable weekly tips on how to optimize your campaigns

    d.) Be transformed from a Facebook marketing novice  to a skilled ninja (oh yeah!)

    all for free!! 

    This is one bootcamp you'll surely don't want to miss. Sign up now by clicking on this link: add rel=” nofollow”

    Real Estate Horror Stories Part 1: Sellers From Hell

    No, I am not the Crypt Keeper but since Halloween is only a few weeks away I would like to share a few short real estate horror stories to keep up with the season.

    These stories (or more accurately: scenarios) are based from my own actual experience as well as those I have witnessed or known first-hand from almost 20 years of working with realtors and agents, property buyers and sellers around the country.

    Just a short caveat though, this article is written in the spirit of fun and ghoulish humor with generous sprinkling of truth from various actual cases. I am NOT pinpointing to any person or a group but if you feel alluded to by this post…don't blame me. Blame your conscience (which means you are still a good person since you still have a conscience).

    As an opening salvo here's a short list of scary scenarios involving sellers that all real estate brokers and agents and even buyers are desperately trying (and praying) to avoid that I deem it appropriate to call them:

    Property Sellers From Hell

    poster from a 70-80s B flick

    What They Do…

    •  Never release commissions even after the deserving/legally registered broker and agent has worked long and hard to close the sale, in a competent & professional manner despite the fact that there's a binding document covering the payment of commissions for services rendered. Worse, they even taunt the real estate service professional to sue them in court knowing that wheels of justice all to often grind slow plus they have the connections to tilt things in their favor.

    • Induce the buyer to purchase the property after the expiry of the listing agreement or authority to sell (even beyond the hold over clause) to save on broker's commissions. In this case, these types of owners are like vampires: they bite the buyer and turn them into one of their own.

    • Once the property is sold, the seller looks for excuse to delay and even reduce the broker / agent's commissions. In some cases, they bring another associate (or a relative / friend) who will demand a slice of the cake.

    • Treats agents and brokers like slaves (i.e. asking brokers and agents to do something beyond what is professional and talks to them in an unprofessional manner)
    • Changes the price and terms at the last minute whenever a very qualified buyer shows high interest on the property or worse, decide not to sell the property at all just before closing for no valid reason at all 

    • Never listens to a broker's professional opinion about realistically pricing the property and instituting other essential changes to make the asset more marketable (sometimes as simple as telling them to clean up their homes, buildings or real estate developments is so difficult for them to action on).
    • Hide and sometimes lie to the broker, agent and buyer about the real status of the property, legal problems, authenticity of the documents and other vital information, etc.

    Coming up on my next post / article: “Terror Buyers” and the last part: “Ghoulish Agents & Brokers”. If you have any scenarios you want listed on the next post, feel free to send in your suggestions.

    How about you? Can you add more Sellers From Hell scenarios? Please leave a comment

    Facebook Marketing – Common Blunders Made By Real Estate Agents & Brokers

    With 750 Million users worldwide spending billions of minutes monthly, real estate agents and brokers are understandably flocking to Facebook for both personal and business purposes. And why not? Facebook marketing is one of biggest & most effective strategies available today and it has reaped online & social media-savy realtors enormous benefits.
    However, despite all tons of advice on proper Facebook marketing published on the net, many real estate practitioners still manage to commit one boo-boo after another. Yes, we all commit mistakes but  for the real estate service profession, the effects of these errors can affect one's ability to create more business opportunities.
    Below are some of the common Facebook marketing blunders committed by real estate agents:

    Many agents think it's alright to post property listings in other Facebook pages, groups and even personal walls without the expressed permission of the page, group or profile owner. No, it's not alright. In fact, it's considered rude and very unprofessional. 
    The best way to show your listings without annoying anyone is to create a Facebook page and invite everyone to like it. Facebook pages are free and you can do a lot cool stuff with it such as: upload photos, documents, notes, videos and many other kinds of content. 
    Best of all, you can engage your prospects in meaningful conversations centered on a topic that gives you business: your listing. Plus you can also get other visitors who may not be your friends to like the page and add to your clientele base.
    Tagging friends/clients with photos and videos without permission

    Tagging someone on a video or photo without their permission and more so if they are actually NOT in the said content is just plain bad Facebook marketing or simply bad behavior.
    We all know that once you tag someone on Facebook, those photos and vids will appear on their wall and are visible to that client's friends. Now, some agents may think this functionality will increase their audience base, which is true but again, without any authorization by the person, these agents end up advertising their lack of consideration & respect for that person's privacy. Instead of gaining clients, agents may end up losing them.
    If you really want to send property listings to a client/prospect-friend a good technique would be to do it via private message. Facebook's private messaging system allows you to attach photos, videos and other links to anyone. If you'd like people to take notice, make sure the content is really professionally done and attractive. You may also insert a note in your message saying: “please feel free to share this with your Facebook friends”.
    Posting Off-topic Sales Messages
    Do you like someone uninvited butting in any of your private or public conversations with a friend? Of course not. It's the exact same thing prospects feel when an agent out of the blue posts a comment that's directly & openly selling a property. 
    The proper way to join a conversation is to:
    a.) Help someone who publicly posts a problem or a question (i.e. someone asking about the property market in an area or government regulations like taxes, etc.)
    b.) Ask a question that concerns your target market / audience 
    c.) Make professional recommendations (only when asked, unless you have a strong personal connection with the prospect)
    Other Facebook marketing mistakes include: 
    • Using the status update as a classified ads tool (your friends are interested in you but not necessarily your offers). The best way to avoid this is to create a Facebook page, Event or post on your wall a link pointing to a website, blog or other channel. Better yet, why not create a Facebook paid advertisement? It's easy to use and manage with excellent targeting tools.
    • Incomplete personal profiles (You need to create credibility and an incomplete profile doesn't help you accomplish that)
    • Failure to engage clients/prospects in your Facebook pages
    The Bottom Line
    Facebook offers vast opportunities for real estate agents and brokers to grow their business. However, it is important to remember that Facebook marketing means following accepted social rules. After all, Facebook is a social networking tool designed specifically to enhance communication and build relationships. 
    Committing social media boo-boos defeats the entire Facebook marketing idea and will cost you time and money.  You want to gain more prospects and sales, not lose them.
    How about you, any irritating Facebook practices committed by real estate you wish to add? Feel free to add some more in the comments section.