Real Estate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
The real estate industry is both highly competitive and reliant on self-marketing. You studied for your real estate license, but to really succeed, you'll have to brush up on some real estate marketing basics, too.
You've probably picked up on some of the do's as you got started; you have your listings on Zillow, and you're hooked into social media. But unless you've made a major faux pas, there's a good chance that the don't's have been slipping under your radar. Here are the five biggest marketing mistakes that you should stop making right now.
1. Stretching the truth on your listing descriptions
If you take nothing else away from this article, let this be the one mistake you avoid. Sure, those newlyweds might not have set up a viewing if you hadn't said the place had a balcony. But do you really think they're going to settle for that one-foot-by-three-foot ledge attached to the living room window?
It's one thing to accentuate the positive, but misleading claims can get you into real legal trouble. Even if it doesn't come to that, you risk irate clients.
These days, home buyers practically require it – they want to know the features of the property before they ever set foot in the door, and if you're feeding them false information, they won't thank you for it.
Most importantly, you'll never close a deal with deceptive marketing. Those newlyweds aren't going to sign, and you've just wasted an hour of everyone's time. Information, expertise, and earned trust are your biggest assets as an agent. You can't afford to torpedo all three in the eyes of your clients, just to dress up a listing.
2. Relying too heavily on one channel
Maintain your own website, but also use Zillow. Put money into digital, but don't forget print; buy ads with Google AdWords and Facebook, but order door hangers too. Encourage Yelp reviews and testimonials for your website.
Try investing in virtual open houses. Use email marketing to recapture leads that have gone stale. And video is one of the best marketing investments a real estate agent can make.
Yeah, I know. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. You don't have to add everything to your repertoire at once. Test new channels, and don't give up too quickly. Any new marketing campaign will require several months to succeed, and every marketing campaign will fail if you pull the plug too early.
3. Failing to drive your marketing with data
With all the marketing options you have, it's tempting to throw stuff into the internet abyss and hope for the best. But don't. To really get the most out of your marketing dollars, you need to put on your mad scientist hat (wig?) and measure your results.
Know exactly where your best leads are coming from and which campaigns are performing poorly so you can put your money in the right place. But first you have to make new leads trackable to their source.
- Setup Google Analytics. It's well established, it's free, and it can give you a lot of information.
- Set up a tracking link for any campaign that clicks through to your listings or your website. Basically, Google Analytics will spit out a string of parameters to put onto the end of the link. Each campaign (email, AdWords, etc) gets its own unique string, and Google Analytics can tell you how many people clicked that link and what they did next.
- If you're putting a lot into print advertising, it may be worthwhile to set up call tracking service. You get campaign-specific phone numbers to use in each print ad. The call forwards to your normal line, but you can now use the tracking software to trace each call back to a specific print campaign.
4. Bringing too little of yourself to social media…or too much
You need to bring some personality to your professional social media, or people will unfollow in a hurry. We all get bombarded by advertising all day long, and no one wants to sign up for more. Property listings, in particular, are a hard needle to thread on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram – be selective in which properties you feature and how often.
To avoid making your followers feel like they've subscribed to a Craigslist feed, try pairing a featured property with some general real estate advice. Are you posting a house with a killer kitchen? Speak to the value of kitchen renovations on property value when you share it. Just as you don't want to share too little of your personality, you also don't want to alienate potential clients by sharing too much.
Keep professional and personal accounts separate, and refrain from posting your political views or the results of your last doctor's appointment on your business account.
Instead, share tidbits that anyone can connect with: hobbies, pets, family celebrations, favorite places to visit in your area. Keep these posts infrequent – no more than one personal post a week, and try to vary the subjects. You don't want to accidentally become a labradoodle blog instead!
5. Not behaving like an industry expert.
Perhaps the best thing you can do with professional social media is to share your real estate expertise in a thoughtful way.
If you're hands-on with your accounts, welcome questions from your followers – don't spend half your day giving free advice, but answering a few questions can build a connection and establish you as an authority.
If you prefer to ignore social media instead, regularly search for articles and videos with valuable real estate information. Use a posting service like Buffer to queue these informational posts up, and you won't have to think about social media for weeks! Either way, focus on quality, not quantity. Say something valuable with every post.
6. Not continuing your real estate education
There's a saying in marketing: it's only as good as the product. In real estate, the product is you – sure, they're looking for property, but your bottom line depends on whether they stick with you as their agent.
This means that for your marketing efforts to be successful, you have to stay on top of your game. An important component of this is your continuing education in the evolving world of real estate.
At 360training.com, we offer a full suite of real estate CE courses that are location-specific and anchored in the latest regulations. Our courses are affordable, self-paced, and mobile-friendly so you can fit your education around your life instead of your life around your education. Happy hunting!