2021 looks to be a massive year for real estate. Learn how to make the most of it with AgentFire's complete real estate marketing guide for 2021.
The new generation of real estate marketing is here. If the top earners in real estate were ahead of the pack before, it’s only going to get more competitive in 2021 and beyond.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to be able to effectively market your business and compete. We’ve worked with thousands of top producers and helped them apply effective marketing strategies to grow their business.
This article will provide a broad overview of everything you need to know to amp your real estate marketing to the next level. With the right strategy in place, you can become one of the top producers in the game.
Understanding Lead Generation In 2021
There’s a default mode that most marketers and real estate agents fall into when it comes to lead generation. They approach it from the top-down, meaning that there’s a clear hierarchy to the client acquisition process.
They start by attracting leads with catchy marketing campaigns. Then they engage customers with relevant content and continue to nurture them until they land the conversion.
This is the standard marketing funnel and this is NOT how you want to structure your real estate marketing strategy in 2021. The times have changed.
Instead, you want to build a marketing flywheel. Check out the image below:
Instead of putting the customer at the end of the funnel, the flywheel puts customers right at the heart of everything you do. It’s a much better marketing framework for real estate agents because as you know, our industry is built on referrals and community engagement.
But most of all, to succeed in real estate you need to provide your customers with a continuous stream of value. That’s what the marketing flywheel is all about.
All the tools we’ve outlined in this article will help you build a strong flywheel that drives growth right from the heart of your business – your customers.
Real Estate Social Media
If you’re not on social media in 2021, you’re missing the boat. This is absolutely essential to reaching all generations of buyers who are on the market today. Here’s a quick overview of each popular social media platform and how it applies to the real estate market:
- Facebook. Facebook has 221 million Facebook users in the United States and over 75% of them are older than 25-years-old. This platform is commonly used to promote active listings, conduct virtual open houses, and host Q&A sessions.
- Instagram. Instagram is a great way to publish photos of your listings, share video walkthroughs, client testimonials, and even host live Q&A sessions. On top of that, it’s a great way to showcase your own personality and connect with people interested in how you do business.
- TikTok. As a video-exclusive platform, TikTok is great for anything video-related. We just published a full article on real estate video marketing, so check that out for more inspiration! It’s also a great platform to connect with younger clients.
- Twitter. Twitter thrives in short-form, bite-sized content. You can use this platform to share interesting industry tidbits, spread your other business content, and share more of your personality.
- YouTube. YouTube is the undoubted king of video content. Any long-form videos that you create for your business – listing walkthroughs, expert interviews, or industry info sessions – should be published on YouTube. Developing a presence with an active YouTube channel is a great way to attract more leads to your business.
How To Leverage Video Content
Another massive shift in real estate marketing is the popularity and effectiveness of video marketing today.
In fact, 73% of homeowners are more likely to hire a real estate agent that uses video vs. one who doesn’t. And on top of that, real estate listings with video receive 403% more inquiries than those which do not include video.
But if you’re a real estate agent reading this, the best part is that only 9% of real estate agents are actively using video in their marketing strategy. So if you can get comfortable with video, you can give yourself a huge advantage in the coming years.
Here’s a quick snapshot of different types of video content to consider for your business:
- Listing walkthroughs
- Virtual tours
- Interview industry experts
- Interpret & analyze market data
Setting Up Your Real Estate Website
“Your website has to be one of your best salespeople. That’s number one.” - Tyler Auerbacher, Dippidi Owner/Co-Founder
Consider your website the central hub for all things related to your real estate business. It’s where customers can browse your current listings, learn about your approach, get in touch with you, and so much more.
Having a beautiful, easy-to-use website is absolutely critical in today’s market.
As one of the top real estate website creation platforms on the market today, we know what it takes to set up a well-functioning website that drives conversions. The core functions outlined below are all part of websites from the top performing agents in the industry.
Stunning Web Design
Ever visit a clunky website recently that loads slowly, lacks color, and looks like it was built in the ’90s? If you have, I’d bet it wasn’t published by a top-producing real estate agent. The best real estate websites are sleek, easy to use and provide value to everyone who visits them. Most of the top real estate websites have their listings front and center, in an easy-to-browse gallery format.
Real Estate Blog
Content is king. If people are interested in your real estate services, they’re likely interested in learning more about the industry and what you have to offer. Running a real estate blog on your website is a great way to provide more value to potential customers and increase your credibility.
You can use your blog to highlight standout listings, share relevant industry trends, showcase your local community, share home buying or selling tips, and so much more. Consider your blog an extension of the value you provide to clients.
If you need some blog post ideas, we’ve created a list for you here.
Lead Capture System
As a key component of any real estate marketing strategy, your website needs to be optimized to capture leads once they arrive.
A great way to do this is by using lead magnets – which are pieces of content meant to attract more traffic than typical blog posts. The difference is that you don’t just share the content for free. You ask for a bit of information – like their contact information and email – in exchange for the content.
This can be in the form of a free webinar, eBook, seminar, exclusive video… anything you can think of to provide more value to your clients. If the offer is sweet enough, they’ll be happy to share their contact information and then you can start nurturing them with offers and more content to build credibility and trust.
That’s how you position yourself as a top-tier real estate professional who’s ready to get the deal done for them.
Buyer And Seller Resources
Anyone looking to buy or sell a home – especially first-timers – are always on the hunt for up-to-date resources to learn more about the market and process involved. The more resources you provide, the more credible your business becomes.
These resources can come from your blog or as permanent pages in your website design. If buyers and sellers each have a designated place on your website to go and learn more, they’ll spend more time on your site and you’ll increase trust.
All of the top real estate websites provide resources for potential clients. It’s the perfect gateway to convince people that you can talk the talk and walk the walk.
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a term that refers to the display of your real estate listings on your website.
This is essential to keeping your website listings up to date so you’re always poised to attract interested buyers.
The great thing is that anyone with basic website knowledge can set this up.
To set up IDX integration on your real estate website, you can follow the guidelines laid out here.
Provide Virtual Real Estate Tours
Even before the pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual tours, they’ve become essential to the growth of any real estate business today.
When prospective clients are able to get a feel for each of your listings from the comfort of their own homes, it dramatically increases the chances of finding interested buyers.
Here are a few different ways to provide virtual tours for your clients:
Live Virtual Open House
Hosting a live open house is the closest thing (in the digital world) to a real, in-person showing. These are great because they allow you to interact with your potential clients in real-time, answer specific questions, and show them anything about the listing they’re curious about.
The best platforms for hosting a live virtual open house are Zoom, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook – all of which can be done right from your smartphone. Keep in mind that you can record these too and upload them to your website or YouTube channel later on.
The main disadvantage of this approach is the risk of something going wrong during your live broadcast, whether technical or otherwise.
Pre-recorded Virtual Open Houses
If you’re interested in a more professionally polished approach, pre-recording your virtual open houses is the way to go. With these, you can plan everything in advance, get the lighting/staging right, and not have to worry about technical issues.
Here’s a great example from the Jesse Peters team:
The downside with pre-recording is that it feels a bit less personal than a live tour. You can’t really connect with interested buyers and get a feel for what they’re thinking.
That said, there’s no reason not to include these in your marketing strategy to expand your digital footprint.
3D Virtual Tours
I’m sure you’ve seen these by now. A 3D virtual tour gives prospective buyers an immersive experience into every listing. They can walk through the home, check out all the different rooms, and get a feel for how life could look inside.
While this is a more expensive option (unless you’re already a 3D savant), it’s certainly worth considering.
Direct Mail Campaigns
With the world going more and more digital, you might think it’s time to forget about physical mail. However, that’d be a huge missed opportunity.
Since the pandemic in 2020, the marketing company Valassis reported that 37% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day and 30% of consumers are spending more time reading marketing or promotional mail.
This is a simple marketing strategy to implement and has a ton of potential to bring in new clients. Here are a few different ideas for structuring your direct mail campaigns:
- Handwritten Letters. How rare is it to receive a handwritten letter these days? Answer: extremely. Taking the time to write handwritten letters to your clients is a great way to guarantee engagement (i.e. nobody throws out a handwritten letter) and stay top of mind for referrals.
- Real estate postcards. These are great because they’re inexpensive, professional, and cut right to the point. You can send these out for special occasions like holidays or thank yous, or simply to touch base with people in your community. The more people see your name, the more likely they are to remember you – especially if you’re providing them with value along the way.
- Newsletter. Newsletters are a great way to keep your community up-to-date with what’s happening in their real estate market and your business. If you can provide insightful information about the real estate market, people are going to look forward to receiving your newsletter. These are also a great way to increase your credibility.
Also known as ‘geo farming’, this is a hyperlocal approach to real estate marketing that zeros in on a particular neighborhood. If you can become THE real estate expert in your neighborhood, it puts you in a great position to be the go-to agent for that area. Although it’s beneficial if you do this in your own neighborhood (because you know the area like the back of your hand), you can do it anywhere.
Geographic farming allows you to hone your marketing messaging down to a very specific target audience, making your content much more likely to resonate.
That said, here are some guiding principles to keep in mind:
- Choose The Right Neighborhood. Size and demographics matter. Ideally, you want to select a neighborhood that has 500-1000 homes in it. That allows you to easily market to the entire neighborhood while still giving you enough potential business to thrive. Beyond the location, you’ll also want to make sure that the houses in the neighborhood have a decent turnover rate. If it’s a neighborhood where nobody has sold a home in the past five years, it’s unlikely you’ll generate a good ROI from your marketing efforts.
- Check For Other Dominant Real Estate Agents. Before diving in, it’s good to be aware of the real estate presence in a given neighborhood. If another agent or two has already successfully geo-farmed an area, it’ll be hard for you to succeed there too. The best-case scenario is to establish your geo-farming efforts in an area without a reputable real estate presence.
- Property Values. If you’re looking to sell million-dollar homes, you’ll need to farm in a neighborhood that has them! Be sure to check out home prices and details so you know it’s the type of neighborhood you want to be involved in.
Once you’ve selected your neighborhood, it’s time to start taking action. To start, get a sense of the current market; which houses are likely to be listed soon, who is currently looking to sell, and which have struggled to sell. Then once you have a lay of the land, it’s time to start reaching out.
First and foremost, every message you send out should provide value. Since you’re targeting a specific group of people, it’s much easier to know what they want and you can speak to their needs directly.
Another good idea is to include a clear call-to-action with every piece of marketing content. Whether it’s prompting people to hop on a phone call with you or sign up for your mailing list, you should make it incredibly easy for them to do so.
As you get into geographic farming, remember to be patient. It will take time to establish yourself in a new neighborhood. Along with that patience, your messaging must be consistent. Nurture all of your leads consistently and continuously provide the value that they’re craving.
Most agents start seeing a positive ROI from geo farming after a year or so of work.
Getting involved in your local communities is a great way to engage with people, spread awareness of your business, and ultimately, provide value to the people around you. You want to leverage this engagement to become the voice of authority in your social circles. If you’re the person that everyone comes to when they have real estate questions, that’s going to lead to significant ROI down the line!
Fostering human-to-human connection is key to any real estate business and local communities are the perfect place to do it.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you build a community around your brand:
- Carry business cards at all times. Whenever you’re at a local event and meet a potential lead, you’ll want to have business cards on hand. Business cards are easy to carry and contain all of your relevant contact info. Also, most people are happy to get a business card from someone they’re connecting with positively.
- Attend networking events. Local communities are active with social events and gatherings that are perfect for networking. The more events you attend, the more people you’re able to connect with.
- Sponsor youth teams. A unique way to get your business out there is to sponsor local sports teams. You’ll be giving back to the community while getting name recognition at the same time.
- Volunteering. There’s no better way to give back to your local community than volunteering. Whether it’s picking up trash at a local park or serving food to people in need, putting yourself out there in a volunteering capacity allows you to build organic relationships with people.
- Have fun! Above all, enjoy yourself out there! After all, these are the people in your local community and we’re social creatures at the end of the day. Try not to think about business all the time. Instead, get out there, share who you are, connect with people, and the results will undoubtedly come with time.
Real estate marketing is an essential part of growing your business. Put your focus here and you’ll set your business apart from the pack.
Remember, your marketing is an extension of your business values and personality. Be yourself, put in the work, and people will want to work with you.
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