One of the biggest challenges realtors face in today's market is the planning and implementation of an effective real estate listing marketing plan.
The opportunities and expectations have changed and grown exponentially over the past decade or so, and with so many avenues and moving parts, it's not easy to nail down a real estate marketing plan and stick to it.
Related: How to build a social media campaign for real estate (with templates)
The benefits of getting it right, however, can be huge, so it's a challenge that every determined broker or agent needs to overcome.
Components of an effective real estate listing marketing plan
First, as a small or medium-sized real estate agency, you need a listing marketing plan that's high-impact.
Why? Because you need every dollar to count. You don't have the budget for this to be solely about brand identity—you need to move real estate listings consistently.
By building an intentional and strategic marketing plan, you'll increase your chances of getting that tenfold. So, where do you start?
The important thing to understand is that every element that makes up your real estate marketing ecosystem should be connected, usually in more ways than one. That's how you move your audience through the sales funnel.
To achieve that, you'll need to start with an overview: a top-level view of how each aspect of your plan links together. A simple diagram will do the trick here, so long as it gives you a clear view of how everything is connected.
Start by creating a goal and measurable objectives for your marketing plan. Think of your goal as your overall vision for the plan. For example, a listing goal could be selling a listing at above market value. Measurable objectives could include having a certain number of attendees at an open house or a certain number of emails or phone calls from a direct mail campaign.
Once you’re goals are in place, it’s easy to identify which marketing strategies and tactics you should focus on in your plan. In your diagram, start with your goals up top. Then link to your objectives and list each strategy under that.
Once you have that, you can begin to look at each element individually to ensure you're maximizing its effect. More on that shortly.
First, a reminder that this isn't about throwing out the feelers to see what sticks, only to try the same thing again next year because you're not sure what really worked.
For everything you do, you'll need to follow these three critical steps:
If you're serious about making this work, you must implement processes for measuring your efforts. Then, once you've got the data, sit down with all key decision makers to analyze what's working. From there, you'll be able to refine your plan and make improvements for the next phase.
Creative marketing ideas for your listings
Now, let's look at some of those individual elements of the real estate marketing plan in more detail. And remember, in everything you do, look for ways to connect your activities and move your leads through the sales process.
Door-knock in the local area
To get ahead of the game before your listing gets published, why not canvas the surrounding properties?
Your sellers' neighbors might know someone who's looking to move into the area. They may even be interested themselves.
Briefly describe the house or property, or show a flyer if you already have one, then open up a conversation about any potential interest.
Don't forget to leave them a card in case an idea comes to mind later, and be sure that this card connects them with other elements of your marketing.
Post a "coming soon" photo online
Another way to get a head start with marketing listings is to preview the property online or on social media before the full feature goes out.
Take an appealing, well-lit photo showing off one of the property's best aspects or features. Post it with a caption that drives curiosity and engagement.
To ensure this element fits within your strategically connected marketing plan, you'll need to think carefully about when and where you'll release further information. How will you make sure any early interest is followed up on? Perhaps you could ask your audience to subscribe to a mailing list to be the first to find out more.
Hire a professional photographer
An absolute must, if you want to compete in today's real estate market, is quality photos. With so much competition for consumers' time, especially online, publishing quality images is a good tactic for capturing attention.
Invest in professional shots that show your listing in its best light and you'll stand a far better chance of attracting buyers.
Use as many photos as possible
Similarly, your listings will carry more appeal if you include at least 12 photos. In fact, the more the better. Don't be afraid to use upwards of 20 or even 30 if you can.
Try to show each room from different angles, as well as the exterior from various viewpoints. You could even include photos of the views from the front and back of the property, as well as capturing the outside spaces.
Do everything you can to help potential buyers visualize themselves in the property.
Reports from the National Association of Realtors show that 85% of buyers and sellers prefer to work with an agent who offers video, yet only 15% of agents use video when marketing listings.
Get ahead of the curve and take your listings to the next level with video tours and 360-degree images or clips. Not only will this help you stand out and attract more interest online, it'll help potential buyers feel more familiar with the listing from the start.
Related: How to create stellar videos for real estate listings
Be descriptive and emotive
Take the guesswork out of it and help buyers connect with the property by including detailed, descriptive summaries of your listings.
Look for opportunities to add character and memorable details. Use language that evokes positive memories and emotions.
Most of all, remember that good advertising copy doesn't just list the features, it sells the benefits. Paint a picture of how good life or business could be for your potential buyer and you'll be helping them form an emotional connection.
Produce quality marketing materials
Though it might seem like it sometimes, it's not just the online channels that matter. Direct marketing (that's flyers, brochures, letters or postcards sent to mailboxes or posted through doors) still has its place. In fact, it can even yield higher results.
But, like with any investment you'll make in marketing collateral, it's only worth adding it to your real estate marketing plan if you're going to do it well.
Choose high-quality paper, use professional photos, and keep your branding consistent across all channels and materials. When it comes to adding a call-to-action, think carefully about what you want the reader to do next. Should they visit the website or call you directly? How will you move them through the sales process?
Related: How to follow up your direct mail campaigns
Feature the listing in your newsletter
When it's maximum exposure you're looking for (which is most of the time when you're marketing listings), you'll need to take advantage of every channel you have.
Your agency's newsletter, if it's been managed well, should be a direct line to your most engaged audience, meaning there are potential buyers on that mailing list waiting to hear from you.
Take advantage by featuring your listing in the next edition and be sure to let all recipients know where they can go to find out more. Remember—a connected marketing strategy is what you're aiming for here.
Related: 8 tips to get more responses to your email marketing
Send the listing to other agents
Make use of your network to enhance the success of your listing marketing by sending out an email to introduce the property.
Ask your contacts if they have any buyers who might be interested and offer them the same support in return.
It's through building relationships and partnerships like this that some agents are able to maintain a consistent income.
What if it still doesn't sell?
When you've completed every strategy in your marketing plan and a listing still isn't selling?
While the seller might expect you to spend more on advertising, you know deep down that it's the price that needs to change.
Remember this phrase and use it to help explain your position to your clients: "If it's not compelling, it's not selling."
There are typically three types of listings that can be compelling at a higher-than-average market price. These listings are opportunity properties, exclusive properties, and turnkey properties with no competition.
For everything else, the price matters, and if it's not compelling, it's not selling.
To soften the blow of a drop in price, make an effort to understand your seller's point of view. Often their ideas will be based on what they're hearing in the national media, which you know doesn't always translate locally.
Break down the data for your clients by showing them the statistics in four different subsections:
Once they see the difference laid out in front of them, they'll find it easier to accept your push for a more compelling price.
Once they're convinced, you can make it compelling, create excitement and then—potentially—you'll have a bidding war on your hands.
The key to building an effective real estate marketing plan is to connect the many elements and moving parts. If you can do that well and use those connections to guide potential clients towards your end goal, you'll see consistent results and a strong ROI.