One of the worst things about being wrong is that you almost never find out until it’s too late. 😉 I hate to say it, but because real estate agents are natural optimists, they seem to get marketing wrong more than most entrepreneurs.

I’m sure you can think of an agent right now (maybe even one sitting in the room with you) who keeps making disastrous marketing mistakes and then wonders where all the leads went. That’s why I put together this list of 17 real estate marketing mistakes to help you avoid some very common pitfalls.

1. Not Using Your Personal Branding in ALL Your Marketing Materials

Brown Harris Stevens Branding Promotional Materials

As a real estate agent, your personal brand is the most valuable asset you’ll ever own. After all, you can always generate more leads, but a great personal brand can last a lifetime. This is why it’s so sad to watch agents “experiment” with their marketing materials.

They use one color for their Facebook page and another for their business cards. They use different fonts for their print marketing than they use for their infographics. That’s no way to grow a personal brand. If you want to grow your business, everything you produce should be instantly recognizable as yours.

Download Your Free Real Estate Branding Guide

If you haven’t yet started building your personal brand or, like every agent who ever lived, your brand could use a little work, check out our review of Sell it Like Serhant: How to Build Your Personal Brand. Ryan Serhant’s course is the best one about personal branding that we’ve ever seen.

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Sell It Like Serhant Course: How to Build Your Personal Brand (In-depth Review)

2. Chasing the Latest Social Media Fads

Social Media Tiktok

Sure, spending five hours on TikTok might seem like a good investment in the future of your business, but is it really? What are you really getting from all that time and energy spent chasing likes on the latest social media app all the kids are raving about?

In too many cases, the answer is nothing. That’s because even if you grind for months and become a bona fide star on TikTok, you are highly unlikely to get leads if the users aren’t part of your target audience. 47% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 25.

Why not spend your time and money on social media platforms that are filled with wealthy, older people who might actually list with you someday? LinkedIn is a sleeping giant for real estate agents who want an actual return on investment (ROI) from social media.

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11 Ways Smart Real Estate Agents Are Using LinkedIn to Get Better Leads
Tote Bags

Just like writing, graphic design seems easy. After all, how hard is it to pick a font and make a nice color choice? That is, until you actually sit down to try to design your own logo. Suddenly, every font and every color you choose just looks … off.

There’s a very good reason for this. People train for years in order to master graphic design basics like typography. Like musicians or athletes, they make it look easy when it’s actually very hard.

So unless you want a logo that looks unprofessional, the DIY route is not an option. You’re going to want to hire a graphic designer. A service like DesignBro lets you send in examples of logos you like so that multiple talented graphic designers can pitch you their ideas and create a perfect logo. Best of all, prices for logos start at $199. Click below to see some amazing examples of logos created by DesignBro.

Visit DesignBro

4. Not Taking Advantage of Video

The statistics are in. Video, from Facebook to Instagram to YouTube, is slowly but surely dominating social media. Video will get you more views, more engagement, and even higher open rates and click-through rates in emails. Smart agents are diving into video in 2022 in a big way. Everyone else will get left behind. There’s no other way to say it. So what are you waiting for?

Just ask Beverly Hills Broker Peter Lorimer. His Magic Minute videos offer bite-sized wisdom in just one minute. They’re also part of the reason Peter now has his own reality TV show on Netflix.

While you’re probably not pushing for your own reality show, video is endlessly useful for your marketing. You can create short videos explaining the homebuying process for new buyers, shoot walk-throughs of hot listings, share tips for closing faster, answer common questions … you get the idea. Luckily, we have an in-depth guide on video to get you started, so no more excuses!

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15 Real Estate Videos Top Agents Use to Generate & Nurture Leads

5. Ignoring Print Marketing

Beautifully designed templates for real estate marketing

In the age of Facebook Messenger ads and Slydial Broadcast, many newer real estate agents think that print marketing is dead. They put tons of money into Facebook advertising or super-expensive lead generation websites, just to end up chasing the latest digital marketing fads we just talked about.

Of course, while those marketing channels can get you plenty of leads, they’re ignoring something important: The boomers who own the best homes don’t spend a lot of time online.

Think about it. Getting the attention of homeowners online is only getting harder and more expensive. Print, on the other hand, is still affordable, and since fewer agents bother with print these days, you can get noticed by clients much, much easier. Of course, it’s not all wine and roses. You need high-quality designs if you want your phone to ring from your print marketing.

Coffee & Contracts is a marketing company that offers thousands of social media templates designed specifically for real estate agents. This includes Instagram Reels, carousels, Broke Agent memes, and more. You’ll get access to fresh content and new options every month as a subscriber.

Visit Coffee & Contracts

6. Thinking DIY Marketing Will Save Money

Another deadly marketing mistake many agents make is thinking that DIY marketing will save them money. Instead of paying a graphic designer or buying quality templates, many agents think to themselves “Hey, I know how to use Canva, I can design my own postcards!” 

While this strategy does admittedly save you money in the short term, in the long run, DIY marketing will cost you money. Why? Because the marketing materials you design yourself will always look worse than what the professionals create.

7. Not Trying to Stand Out From the Crowd

Flock of Sheep

Unless you’re the only agent in your city, chances are the competition for leads is going to be fierce. If you’re a relatively new agent, the problem will be 10 times worse. In order to actually get a return on your marketing spend, you’re going to have to cut through the noise and give people a reason to call you.

Now don’t get me wrong—being different just for the sake of being different can kill your brand faster than an ethics scandal. Instead, take the time to figure out what skills you have that set you apart from the other real estate agents you’re competing with and figure out how to center them in your marketing.

If you want to stand out, then creating a strategic marketing plan that centers your mission, vision, and values is crucial. Yup. We have a guide for that too:

The Real Estate Marketing Plan Template Every Agent Needs

8. Using Misleading Copy in Your Listing Descriptions

Red Typewriter

Let’s face it. We’ve all been tempted to embellish the truth in listing descriptions. “The basement is kind of finished, right? Might as well call it a dining room…”

Luckily, most of us avoid the temptation to wildly exaggerate the features of our listings, but far too often listing agents get excited and end up with misleading listing descriptions on Zillow. Here’s the problem. Even a minor embellishment or exaggeration can theoretically trigger the National Association of Realtors (NAR) or state violations at worst, or angry buyer’s agents and leads at best.

At the end of the day, it’s just not worth the risk. As you might have guessed, we just so happen to have the best guide to writing listing descriptions on the internet. Check it out for some tips:

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How to Write Creative Real Estate Listing Descriptions (+ Examples)

9. Not Using Unique Phone Numbers to Track Offline Marketing

Woman Standing Next To Sign Post

A few years ago, I sat next to an old-school broker at work. During the busy months, I must have heard him say “Where did you get my number?” at least every third time his phone rang.

While he did fine at the end of the season, every time he missed a call or got a random text that never responded, he just shook his head and chalked it up to bad luck.

While this isn’t the worst marketing mistake an agent can make, it can and will hurt your bottom line. After all, how can you tell if that new door hanger campaign or expensive light-up yard sign is worth the money if you can’t accurately measure your ROI?

Instead of guessing, smart real estate agents who want to refine their game use voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) services to get unique phone numbers they can use for different marketing methods.

Best of all, no need to juggle burner phones or miss texts. Today’s VoIP services allow you to answer, text, and track all inquiries on your cell phone. If you’re looking for an affordable and feature-filled VoIP provider, check out Grasshopper below.

Visit Grasshopper

10. Not Including a CTA on All Marketing Materials

CTA Open House

Speaking of getting your phone to ring, sometimes it’s even easier than tracking your website visitors and showing ads on Facebook. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

In the marketing world, asking someone to take a specific action (click here, call us for a free quote, and so on) is a tried-and-true method of increasing engagement with your marketing materials.

When it comes to digital marketing, most agents we deal with understand that writing a great call to action (CTA) is crucial for success. However, many forget that the CTA originated in print media, and a great CTA can help your signs, direct mail, or other print marketing shine.

So the next time you sit down to write copy for your door hanger campaign or signs, try to come up with a natural-sounding CTA that makes sense for the medium. For example, a CTA on your sign rider might say something like “text XXX-XXX-XXXX for more information” or “Call us today for a showing.”

11. Not Setting Realistic Goals

Not Setting Realistic Goals

We’ve all met the new agent who struts around the office expecting to get a 75% click-through rate on her first round of Facebook ads. There’s no point explaining the odds; this is something people just have to discover on their own.

Marketing real estate, especially when you don’t have the luxury of a listing or recent sales to brag about, is hard. Response rates from almost every channel are often in the LOW single digits on a good day.

So don’t freak out if you’re spending money and not seeing a huge return right away. Success takes time, and getting your brand out there can have long-term benefits that outweigh a few phone calls or clicks to your landing page.

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The Science-Backed Mindset All Successful Realtors Share

Marketing Mistakes That Michael Edlen Sees LA Realtors Make Far Too Often

Realtors Group Photo

Having sold more than $1.5 billion since 1986, California broker and leader of the Michael Edlen Team has seen it all.

Michael is consistently ranked among the top 20 Greater Los Angeles area Coldwell Banker agents and has successfully completed a staggering 1,350 transactions during his career.

That’s why he was the first person we reached out to when we started working on this article.

As you can imagine, he had plenty to say on the matter, but we managed to get him to boil it down to three big real estate marketing mistakes:

12. Using iPhone Photography for MLS & Print Ads

The lighting and general quality are almost always inferior to that of a professional photographer. Similarly, having photography done without professional staging (or at least significant preparations by a skillful and experienced marketing individual) can be highly detrimental to the marketing process.

13. Getting the Initial Asking Price Wrong

This is usually in reaction to what a seller says they want or need, what a neighbor is asking for their place, or what their investment in it is. Education based on actual current sales and competitive environment upfront is the usual solution.

14. Basing Price Position on Zillow or Other Online Valuation Sites

None of those algorithms ever see a home, know of views some other properties may have, factor in the condition of the house or site, and so forth. Also, they can vary among themselves by 10% to 15% quite frequently! Same solution as the tip above.

Marketing Mistakes Nicole Cassis Keeps Seeing in Miami Luxury Real Estate

Nicole Cassis with Realtors

After more than a decade selling everything from multimillion-dollar hotels to a $20 million residential mansion in Coconut Grove, it’s safe to say that Nicole Cassis knows a thing or two about real estate marketing.

In fact, we first met Nicole because she was the first Realtor in the country to conduct a full “wallet-to-wallet” bitcoin transaction for a $6,050,000 property in Miami. This just proves that true innovation and a sterling reputation can work better than any marketing campaign.

Here are Nicole’s top three real estate marketing mistakes she sees agents making:

15. Using Social Media to Only Showcase Properties, Not Your Personality

A big issue today is that real estate agents use social media only as a real estate tool, which has become both repetitive and impersonal. To be seen as genuine and engaging, your audience wants to meet the person behind the real estate agent to connect first on a human level—and then hopefully do business together. The magic of this industry is to maintain long-lasting relationships, so remember to be a person first and a salesperson second.

16. Bombarding Your Email List

Bombarding your circle of influencers with useless email campaigns all week is a surefire way to lose subscribers. Be consistent with your message, as well as with the day and time you want to connect with your audience, and always provide them with real value.

17. Marketing Inconsistently & Expecting Immediate Results

Many real estate agents spend thousands of dollars on marketing mailings to generate awareness. However, they start one month and then stop—possibly resuming several months later—and they cannot understand why they’re not seeing results. You must be methodical and consistent with your messaging, and understand that results take time.

You have to execute a strategic marketing campaign for at least six months before you hopefully see some leads. Even then, this technique is a passive, yet effective way for positioning yourself in the market.

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Instagram Stories for Agents: 12 Easy Ways to Drive Engagement

Over to You

What are some common real estate marketing mistakes you see agents making in your farm area? Let us know in the comments.