Most salespeople are willing to budget for a sensible marketing plan but some worry to the point of inaction. A common response is, “Who knows what new technology will come out next year and make everything obsolete?” Sometimes a personal endorsement persuades coworkers to buy into a hot, new marketing program that sounds wonderful but doesn’t deliver. The pragmatic solution is to avoid fads and invest in marketing trends, which are sustainable opportunities.
Marketing uses a composite of techniques so the effort is diversified and provides feedback. When the way seems uncertain, the Project Triangle method can be used to create a go-slow strategy that will keep expenses under control. It’s based on a theory that all businesses want to offer a good price, the fastest service, and the highest quality but in practice only two of the three can happen at the same time. Let’s look at some real estate marketing tools that fit the low-cost and long-term ROI choices.
Before the crash in 2009, realty websites with expensive print-style graphics were the must-have marketing tool. Sales copy animated the gold rush mentality; preparing vendors for multiple offers and unlimited appreciation. Then the market changed and, within a few months, the narrative on FOMO seemed incoherent compared to reality: A fad derives it’s value from social status and doesn’t have sustained relevance: it’s hot until it’s not.
In comparison, trends are more sensible and generally indicate a better way. For example, the trend to listing syndication is well established because it’s a very efficient form of advertising. In the past few years, CREA recognized this important sales channel and created the Third Party Destinations in the Data Distribution Facility (DDF®). Simply put, a trend is your friend.
Here are some bona fide trends that you can build on to promote yourself and your listings at little or no cost. While there is an investment of time they won’t go out of style any time soon.
First, the low-hanging fruit: Few agents realize how much planning and investment has gone into making the Realtor® brand a powerful centre of gravity for members. Principles like fiduciary duty, disclosure, privacy, and E&O insurance represent small steps toward real estate sales being recognized as a professional discipline. Weave these talking points into your marketing to strengthen your value proposition and support the character of your personal and company brands.
Realtor.ca is the most visited real estate site in Canada and there are a number of ways to increase its value to your business. One example of the Easter eggs in the system are the multimedia icons that you see with some listings. These generate a tremendous amount of traffic to external virtual tours, extra photos, and online brochures. Some icon links can be added through your board’s MLS® software while unsupported icons can be requested by sending a link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Link the More Info icon to a blog article for a rare opportunity to tell the story on a more personal level.
Search engines love blogs so it’s an efficient way to get traffic to your site. In WordPress, click the save button and Google is immediately queued to index your new article. One broker that we worked with had a receptionist who posted articles all day just to keep busy. She didn’t realize that her hobby had improved the brokerage’s website ranking to #1. Have writer’s block? It’s okay to repost statistics from the board or embed home staging videos from Youtube with a few comments of your own.
And finally, we come to the DDF®, the national listing reciprocity system that was developed to ensure all Realtors® would have access to IDX listings. If your board doesn’t provide a direct link, try logging into realtorlink.ca, and in the address bar of the same window, paste http://member.realtor.ca/Distribution. On that page, you’ll find another Easter egg called the DDF® Dashboard where filters allow you to show listings from nearly the entire Realtor.ca database. To ensure your personal listings are included in the syndication network, ask your broker to activate and regularly update the Third Party Destination list.
Leveraging trends, not fads, will keep your marketing investment intact, your confidence high, and your phone ringing.