13 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid as a Real Estate Agent
I visit a lot of real estate agent websites, watch videos and read articles put out by real estate agents, and look at real estate agent marketing pieces. I see a lot of common mistakes that will prevent you from getting the results you expect. Most things are simple enough to correct but will require some effort. Marketing is, in fact, everything you do that promotes your brand. It isn't just Facebook ads or flyers. It is everything you say and do, every interaction you have in with your clients and leads.
Let's take a look at 13 of the common mistakes I see being made every day. And if you only have time to read about 1 of these mistakes, make it the last one: 13. Not playing the long game.
Here's the full list to get started:
1. Reposting articles with no personal or local flavor
1. Reposting articles with no personal or local flavor
Jessica Raab, an agent in Layton, UT shared an early mistake she made when she first started as an agent:
I created a Facebook business page and asked all my friends to like it. I would share articles that Realtor.com posted that weren't helpful to buyers or sellers. For example one of them talked about interest rates. Above the article I would say something like, "Interest rates are at an all time low. right now is an amazing time to buy! Contact me to find your dream home!" This has got to be the WORST social media marketing in the world and yet I still wondered why I hadn't gotten any sales.
When sharing or reposting articles, make sure they are relevant to your market and then add your own comments or perspective. Like Jessica said, don't just share a boring article about interest rates because no one really cares about that. Instead, share an article with some value, like this one, a first time home buyer's guide. And then, include your personal take on why these tips are useful or important. Generating leads takes effort, it doesn't just happen by linking content from someone else. You have the amazing opportunity to prove what makes you different by sharing your insight.
Bonus tip: it's ok to disagree with an article. You can say, "Why I Disagree with Realtor.com's Article On Home Buying" and then share your personal experiences in your specific marketplace. I did this with a recent article about real estate photography published in the Salt Lake Realtor Magazine a short while ago and got great feedback.
2. Throwing your ads into the air and hoping something sticks
A great way to spend money and get no return is to have no idea what your target market is. The first mistake everyone makes is thinking, "My target market is anyone who wants to buy what I'm selling!" This is a great way to make yourself a commodity. When you send out Facebook ads or mailers or emails with no defined audience, you might as well be lighting that money on fire.
Instead, target specific zip codes, communities, age ranges, genders, or devices (computer vs mobile). This way you can specify where your advertising goes and you won't waste money on people who aren't interested in your services. Check out this article if you want to learn more about creating a great Facebook ad.
3. Low quality photo and video
People will assume the quality of experience they get from you based on the quality of imagery you put online and elsewhere (flyers, business cards, brochures, etc). If you are uploading low quality cell phone shots of your listings or video walkthroughs taken with your iPhone, people will think you are an agent who isn't concerned about making things look nice.
When you have a listing with high quality images and video, people will think "This is an agent I want to work with! Look at the importance she places on making sure these photos look great." One of the most frequent complaints I hear is that listing photos are terrible: dark, crooked, or blurry. You can give your personal brand a boost by making sure you have high quality visuals with all your marketing.
Remember, you are helping people sell something that is worth more than a Ferrari. Make sure your photos are on point.
4. Low quality listing description
The second most important part of a listing as report by NAR (The Home Search Process, Exhibit 3-9) is the listing description (photos being number 1, no shock there). People use the description you write to confirm the information they see in the photos. This creates more interested buyers. It also shows your selling clients that you are taking the time to craft a beautiful description of their home in order to bring out the best parts.
No longer are we limited to 25 characters in a newspaper column, but yet TO THIS DAY I still see listings that look like this:
3bd3ba, 2car, AC, new carpet/paint, close to freeway/school/shopping. Cute house! Must see!
A must see? Really? You haven't given me any reason to come and take a tour. The listing description should bring out the best the house has to offer. And since words are free, there is no reason why you shouldn't be crafting a beautiful descrption of your client's home.
5. Saying the same thing as every other agent
I made this mistake when I first got started. I thought, "Hey it worked for this photographer, so it should work for me, right?" Wrong. The marketing you do for yourself is always going to evolve and grow over time. The snapshot you took from another agent's blog or website is part of their personal marketing strategy and most likely was taken into careful consideration (if they are a highly successful agent).
Another example is having a website that almost has the same text copied from 100 other agent websites, something like:
Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I specialize in assisting buyers and sellers in your area. My website contains ALL listings from ALL Real Estate Agents, there's no need to look anywhere else for your next home!!
Look familiar? I've seen this text (or some variation of it) on almost every real estate website I visit. With almost 4000 real estate agents across the Wasatch Front, how on Earth do you expect to stand out if you are saying the same thing as everyone else?
Instead, take this opportunity to tell your personal story. People don't need an agent, they need a friend. They need to know they can trust you with such a big purchase and financial commitment. Tell them why you won't take their business for granted.
6. Directing your clients to your homepage instead of a landing page
Landing pages have become the hot new thing in the Internet over the past couple of years. Tons of research shows that they not only work, but they work incredibly well. A landing page is a 1 page website that is specifically crafted to continue a conversation you had somewhere else, be it on Facebook, email, or in person.
What a landing page does for you that your home page can't is it provides a very specific path to follow. Instead of being bombarded with tons of links and no clear direction to travel, a landing page is the maitre d' who guides your new lead directly to their seat and hands them the menu.
You should direct each new lead to your landing page so they learn a little bit more about you, what sets you apart, and how you can solve their problems. Landing pages can be set up with lead capture forms, PDF downloads, or drip campaigns. Check out this landing page for Agynt Studio that guides our new agent leads in Salt Lake City that are interested in real estate photography to a 5 day marketing course and a 20% off offer on their first purchase from us.
7. Complicated Domain Names
For those agents just starting out and trying to decide on a domian name, I strongly suggest going with www.YourName.com. If you have a very common name, try something like www.YourNameSLC.com (or whatever city/state you're in).
Far too often agents try to come up with whimsical domain names that are hard to remember and even harder to spell. I met an agent at a luncheon sponsored by SLBR, let's call him Chris Agent. Chris gave me his card with his website, something like www.livingluxuryUT.com. After the event I wanted to reach out to him but I lost his business card and couldn't remember his domain name. If he would have just used www.ChrisAgent.com I would have been there immediately. Instead, his clever website name was preventing me from finding him.
Your name is a big part of your brand as a real estate agent. Use it to its full potential. Not only does it look more professional, people will remember your name and website easier when they are the same thing.
8. Not looking at ad analytics
Whenever you run an ad you should be looking at the analytics from each ad campaign to know where your dollars are best spent. The Facebook Ads Manager holds all the information from your ads, everything from age, gender, and location about the people who got your ad and responded to it (watched a video, clicked a link, etc). If you are doing mail campaigns, you can look at your website analytics to find out which zip codes are producing the most hits in response to your ads. People are much more likely to visit a website than call a phone number so it's important to include a website (a landing page) on each of your ad campaigns.
9. Giving out generic thank you cards or gifts
All too often we resort to giving out generic Starbucks gift cards to our clients even if we don't know if they like Starbucks or not (because who doesn't like Starbucks, right??) Instead, I always recommend giving gifts that will have personal meaning or use to your clients. If you have a couple that likes to cook, buy them a nice set of kitchen knives. If they like to enjoy coffee on the front porch in the morning, buy them a set of nice mugs and a French press. The way you tell your clients "Thank you for your business" goes a long way towards maintaining a good relationship and generating referrals. If you are sending out some generic brownies with a computer printed thank you note, you might not come across as the agent that really cares about his clients. I have an entire article on the power of gift giving and how it will help you generate more referrals from your previous clients. Check it out here.
10. Not showing up on moving day
Many agents want to ask their clients for referrals but are afraid it will come across as slimy (which it really can). "Hey thanks for asking me to help you sell your home, are any of your friends or family selling too??" Yeah, kinda gross.
Instead, a huge opportunity missed by most agents is on moving day when your client's friends and family will all be in one spot together. There are many great ways you can be the awesome agent without being slimy and shoving your business card in everyone's face. Show up with a cooler full of Gatorade and Facebook Live a few minutes of the event, walking around talking to your clients, their friends, family, and neighbors. Ask them questions like if they are excited, happy, sad, or mad that your clients are moving. Get their permission to record them and ask if it's ok if you tag them on Facebook (write down their names so you can find them later).
If you do this with a bit of tact, you'll have the chance to send them a friend request and follow up via Facebook Messenger with a link to your landing page (sound familiar?) or digital business card. Then you can further the discussion and gather their information to include in a drip campaign.
If you want referrals, go to where the referrals will be!
11. Not doing something worth talking about
A very common complaint I hear is, "I'm doing so much but no one is talking about me!" When I look into that agent's marketing efforts all I see are reposted articles from Realtor.com (as seen in tip #1) and a few posts on Facebook spaced months apart like "Check out this new listing!" If you want people to talk about you, you have to give them something worth talking about. Posting a few articles here and there isn't going to cut it. Doing and saying the same thing as every other agent isn't going to cut it either.
Video is huge right now and will continue to get bigger and better as Facebook and Instagram continue to develop how we receive video content. You could be throwing out a video every day about the different communities you work in, featuring parks, splash pads, or restaurants. You could do a weekly video series where you interview people or business in the community. You could (and should) do client testimonial interviews so future leads see right from the source how awesome you are.
12. Not leveraging client testimonials
And speaking of client testimonials, this is one thing that every agent should be getting as part of their closing transactions. You've spent months in the trenches with your clients and you are just going to let them go without much more than a goodbye? Are you crazy??
Each of your transactions should close with an invite to be on camera, talking about their wonderful experience with you (because you don't give bad experiences, right?). This social proof goes light years beyond a 5 star review on Facebook. Video conveys emotion and sells ideas in a way that text simply cannot.
13. Not playing the long game
Game theory says there are 2 types of games: the long (infinite) game and the short (finite) game. In the long game, there are an infiinte number of players, an infinite number of rules, and no end. The purpose of the long game is to keep the game going. An example of this is space exploration. There is no end, there is no winning. We don't get to Mars and say "Ok we've won, there is nothing else to do in Space."
In the short game, there are a finite number of players, a finite number of rules and the purpose is to win. An example of this is Monopoly. 2-4 players, $200 every time you pass go, buy every space on the board or bankrupt your opponents. Once you are the last person left, you don't keep playing, moving your piece around the board aimlessly. You've won, the game is over.
Business and marketing are examples of long games and if you are playing the short game in your marketing you will lose. Being good at marketing only opens you up to the knowledge that there are so many things you don't know or haven't mastered yet. Marketing isn't so much a set of finite moves that always results in clients. Instead, it is a living, growing, evolving organism that has changing needs every day of every month of every year.
Too often we play the short game in marketing, thinking to ourselves, "If I do this one thing, I'll be done marketing. I'll have found 10 new clients and I'll be set." But then what? Your 10 clients come and go and have you retired on your tropical island? Hardly.
With marketing, we have to play the long game. We have to constantly be marketing ourselves and our business in order to keep our business running indefinitely. Marketing is not something you do between the hours of 9am and 11am. It's not posting a few things on Facebook or sending out a newsletter. Marketing is happening every minute of every day. There are an infinite number of things you can do to better position yourself in the marketplace. And tomorrow, there will be infinitely more.
Think of marketing as "who you are" not "what you do."
When you play the long game, you no longer run from action to action expecting to "win," only to become exhausted and frustrated when it isn't working. You know you are winning the long game when you are still in business today and you will still be in business tomorrow.
We tend to make marketing more complicated and expensive than it needs to be. There are plenty of things to keep us busy but it is how we do those things that will keep us productive. Understand that results are often not immediate. 1 video about a new splashpad in Bluffdale doesn't guarantee 3 new clients. Remember, you aren't here to win, you are here to keep playing.
Marketing doesn't have to be expensive either. Start off with some selfie video in your car talking about the topics of real estate that interest you and are relevant to your leads. And then when your business starts to grow and you have some money to throw into better marketing, hire someone that can produce higher quality audio and video.
Stick to it and you'll accomplish all your goals.
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