The new year often brings new resolutions. To lose weight, to eat better, to make more time for your family… or in business, to turn the corner and grow it to new heights.

In real estate, you are constantly looking for ways to get more referrals, more clients, and more closed deals. If that is on your 2018 resolution list, I’d suggest you go back and look at your real estate marketing plan.

The key to a real estate marketing plan as with any marketing plan is to stick to it. Take a look at what you promised to do last year. Chances are there are many things you forgot about as your year progressed. Make your number one priority for 2018 to refresh that marketing plan and then live by it. Everyday.

Your marketing plan should include a profile of your ideal client, your specific marketing goals, and your advertising goals. Then allocate a budget that you will commit to spending to reach those goals. The general rule of thumb is to spend 10% of every commission cheque on marketing your real estate practice. It is best to keep those funds in a separate account so they don’t get spent elsewhere.

Writing your plan will take time. But if done right and followed to a tee you will see your profits grow.

Here are 5 tips to get your real estate marketing plan started:

  1. List Your Goals and Objectives

To start, list your goals. We know you want more referrals and deals but how will you get there? Be specific and realistic.

Your goals will be the building blocks of your plan and can be long or short term. You will then use the objectives and tactics to get there. You don’t need too many. Just one or two for you to target is fine. You want them to be realistic enough that they are achievable. Otherwise, you will get disheartened and lose momentum.

Possible goals could be:

  • To be a top 1% REALTOR® in your city in 18 months
  • To net $100,000 by the end of 2018
  • To have 3 new clients every month
  • To get a least one referral from 60% of your past clients and influencers by the end of the year

You want the goals to be a little scary because you have never achieved them before. If you make them too easy you will lose focus. You want them to be far enough out of reach that it drives you to get out of bed in the morning and focus on reaching them.

  1. What is Your Value Proposition?

Real estate is a broad industry with huge competition. What makes you stand out from everyone else? Clients are looking to connect with their agent in some way. They want to know that you have lived a day in their shoes and know what they need because often they aren’t sure and need guidance.

Do you speak another language? Have a background in law, business, interior design, insurance or finance? Perhaps sports is your niche or have you lived in the neighbourhood you service all of your life. Do you have kids in school, sports or other community activities, and (if this is what your ideal client needs) know that the best karate instructor in the city happens to be three blocks away?

Whatever it is that makes you different, make note of that a feature in all your marketing materials by creating a unique selling point. It’s best if you can say it in 15 words or less.

Write it on your blog and show yourself actively participating in that niche area on social media. Make it part of your 30-second elevator pitch that you say every time you meet a new prospect or influencer.

  1. Know Your Ideal Client

Know who you connect with best and keep your focus on that client. It is what will set you apart. When creating your real estate marketing plan you always need to ensure you know who you are targeting. For example, you don’t want to waste time and money on producing a monthly planning calendar if your target only uses their smartphone to track their meetings and personal plans.

Create a client profile. Give her a name and know her age and ethnic background. What is she hearing, seeing, feeling, doing and saying as she goes through her day? Where does she work and what does she do for fun? Is she married? Family? Spouse? Single parent?

Know her values, behavior, and influences. How does she use her smartphone – texting friends, chatting on Facebook or posting on Instagram? Maybe she just uses it to take calls. Is she confident or a worrier? How does she prefer to engage with you? Is she a baby boomer who prefers emails or a millennial who only converses via text. Write a story about her and add a photo. Print this off and post it on your wall next to your desk. Have her profile in the notes on your smartphone. Think about her every moment of every day as you develop your marketing tactics to ensure your ideal client is your target every time.

Then, when you meet her face-to-face, listen carefully. She will tell you what she likes and doesn’t like. Watch how she responds to your questions. Then add those to her profile. The better you know and respond to your ideal client the more effective your marketing will become.

  1. Create your action plan and set a budget to make it succeed

Now that you know where you are going and who you are talking to it’s time to send the plan into motion with marketing tactics. How are you going to talk to your audience?

Possible tactics can include

  • Update your website with a contemporary design and content that will attract attention and make it easy for your target audience to see that you are the expert they have been looking for.
  • Write four blog posts each month with a focus on articles that speak to your target audience. For example, if your target is seniors the articles will focus on downsizing, letting go of past memories and bungalow/condo/seniors residence options in your area.
  • Focus on Facebook and Instagram to reach your audience with listings and open house notices, as well as links back to your website blog posts and helpful community information. Make a point of asking for audience participation and chatting with your followers.
  • Write a quarterly newsletter to stay in touch with past clients and influencers, as well as prospects who opt-in to receive more information from your website. Again, the newsletter offers a moment for you to set yourself apart from the competition and speak directly to your target market.
  • Sponsor a local community team, festival or charity drive.
  1. Analyze your real estate marketing plan successes/failures

Make sure you ask every prospect how they found you so you can analyze your marketing successes and failures. If you find that no one mentions your bench advertising consider removing it from your plan for six months and reallocate the funds to another tactic. If you notice a spike in hits to your website and prospect opt-ins for your newsletter each time you add Google Ads to the marketing mix, then that is a marketing tactic that should see an increase in its budget.

Sometimes money doesn’t need to be spent at all. If you notice a drop in referrals ask yourself how often you are asking for them. Every time you talk to an old friend or client remind them you are always looking for new business. Add a specific referral request to your social media calendar at least once each month. And if a referral is passed on to you, follow up!

I’m Diana Cape, the Real Estate Copywriter and I’ve been writing about real estate for over 25 years. I specialize in creating content for websites, social media, blogs and traditional marketing material for Canadian real estate professionals, developers and industry trades. Let me help you choose the content that will reassure your prospects that your industry know-how and skills can make their real estate dream a reality. Find out more here.