There are few things more important to your sellers than your listing marketing plan. After all, your marketing skills are probably one of the only reasons they are even thinking about hiring you in the first place.
That’s why today, I am sharing my 47-point real estate listing marketing plan that I developed over 27 years as a top-producing agent, broker-owner, and coach. If you are interested in more creative lead generation techniques or would like coaching for your brokerage, contact me at 16 Strategies for Sales.
How to Use My 47-Point Ultimate Listing Marketing Plan
You don’t need to do all 47-points of the Ultimate Listing Marketing Plan to get a home sold, but having all the techniques and tools available to you may save you when you have an important listing presentation or a difficult property to sell.
In order to get the most out of this listing marketing plan, choose 20 strategies from the list that you will commit to do for all your listings. Then select five additional techniques for your hard-to-sell listings, and lastly create a separate listing marketing plan for your luxury and ultra-luxury homes.
You can download a PDF checklist of my plan here—just make sure to come back to read the entire article for some important tips!
The 47-Point Ultimate Real Estate Marketing Plan
1. Identify the Home’s Unique Selling Features
Some agents just photograph the house, place it in the MLS, and call it a day, but taking the time to do some research can result in BIG returns for your seller. Begin by investigating unique selling features of the property. This can include things like the lifestyle, location, and history of the neighborhood.
When you are marketing your listing you are selling more than just the property’s features—you are selling the lifestyle! Today, for many Americans, their lifestyle is more important than the features of the home.
I have a cousin who lives in a 500-square-foot condo that cost over $550,000. That’s over $1,000 a square foot!! The condo is in the heart of the surfing community of La Jolla, California.
The specific reason my cousin chose this particular condo was to be around other surfers, like herself. She could have easily afforded to buy a larger home and drive to the beach, but she wouldn’t have been surrounded by the surfer lifestyle.
Proximity to transportation routes, including highways, mass transit, and airports, are one of the main factors a buyer has when selecting a home. Other important factors are nearby parks, shopping, and other recreational activities.
A home’s history isn’t limited to historic properties. I was recently talking to an agent in the Los Angeles area. He told me that the prior ownership of a home in LA can account for up to 10% of the property’s value. Think about it: Wouldn’t you pay more for a home if it was once owned by your favorite actor or actress? I would!
I recently listed a property that had been in the same family for over 50 years. Instead of marketing just the features of the property, I put together a photo book showing the history of the property and the family’s connection to the property. I also wrote an article for the local newspaper about the importance of the property and the impact the family had made on the community.
2. Pricing Strategy
Newer agents don’t think of pricing as a marketing strategy, yet it is the most important of all. Your pricing strategy can differentiate you from your listing-hungry competition. Here are some examples of listing pricing strategies that you can use to market your listing.
Pricing Above Market
While this pricing strategy is not a preferred method if your goal is to sell the home quickly, it can be a powerful tool to secure a long-term listing (one or more years) with the intent to allow the market to catch up or to allow time for the seller’s motivation to change.
Pricing Slightly Above Market
The standard pricing model is to price the home slightly above the last sale by comparing the subject property to recent sales and adjusting it for market appreciation.
Pricing Below Market
Once you have determined the fair market value, price the property 1% to 2% below that price to ensure your home stands out against the competition, hoping the lower price drives demand and multiple offers.
Listing Preparation & Staging
3. Touch-up & Repairs
Provide your seller a list of trusted contractors to help them get their home in tip-top condition, or give them a couple free hours with your favorite handyman service. If you wish to offer full-service, you may coordinate the contractors and follow up with them to ensure that all the items were completed to your satisfaction.
Make your listings stand out by providing a free staging consultation or full staging services. Even the most meticulous sellers’ homes need to be decluttered, organized, and sometimes updated. Some top-producing agents keep their staging in-house and even have their own staging items.
Vacant properties can look dull and unexciting in photos. Virtual staging can help buyers envision what the home will look like with furniture. The best part about virtual staging is that you won’t have to move furniture, and the cost is far less than hiring a staging company.
5. Professional Photography
As an industry, can we all agree that cell phone photos are unacceptable? It boggles my mind that agents won’t spend just a few hundred dollars to have a professional take and edit their photos. There is nothing more important to your listing marketing plan than your photos.
After price, photos are the first thing the buyers see. It is their first impression. The final quality of the pictures rely as much on the editing as the original photo. So, unless you have high-quality photo editing software and the knowledge to use it, don’t take your own photos. It’s just not worth it.
The more, the better. If 10 photos are good, then 20 is better, and 100 is OUTSTANDING! For custom and unique homes, consider taking photos of the small details. Take photos of the upgraded door handles, the flowers in the garden, even photos of the neighborhood. If your MLS doesn’t allow you to feature 100 photos, then host them on your individual property website.
6. 3D Tours
One of the best tech advancements in the past few years has to be the 3D floor plans. This allows the buyers to virtually walk through a property room-by-room and to rotate the floor plan to see the overall dimensions of each room.
This is outstanding for custom homes with unique floor plans as well as homes that are difficult to show. 3D floor plans start at $99 from providers like Virtuance. If you want to do it yourself, you can purchase your own 3D equipment directly from Matterport for $2,995.
Better yet, check out Asteroom for fantastic, interactive tour equipment for a fraction of the cost. You can get your gear for less than $100, and their monthly subscription to tour hosting starts at $20.
7. Video & Virtual Tours
Video tours are not limited to luxury listings. You can do a simple walk-through video like this one on your listings too. Just give your iPhone to a friend and walk through the property and point out the listings features. Don’t forget to share it on all your social media platforms.
For more tips, see Emile’s detailed article, How Custom Virtual Tours Can Save Your Real Estate Business in 2021.
8. Aerial Photography & Video
With the combination of the low cost of high-resolution cameras and drones today, you can offer prospective buyers views of the homes like never before. Instead of saying the park is just one block away, show them with a flyover. Or instead of talking about the beautiful golf course, take them on a tour of it with a drone.
Aerial photography starts as low as $199 for 10 still images and can go as high as $1,000 for full-customized video set to music.
MLS & Listing Syndication
Make no mistake, placing a property in the MLS isn’t as easy as you would think. One wrong entry could mean that your property won’t show up in a home search. That could mean no showings for days or even weeks. True real estate professionals take extra time and pay special attention to the details when entering their properties into the MLS. Here are a few tips to make sure your listing is input into the MLS correctly.
9. Add as Much Detail as Possible
One of my biggest frustrations is when an agent doesn’t fill out the listing’s data completely. They commonly skip important details like measurements, lot size, and inclusions. The best tip I have for entering your new listing into the MLS is to have another agent that you trust review your listing before it goes live.
10. Add the Listing to Multiple MLS Systems
To successfully market some properties, you may need to enter them into multiple MLS systems. If the property is on the border of two MLS areas, or if the property is outside of a larger city with tens of thousands of agents that you want to get the property in front of, you may need to become a member of multiple MLS systems.
Investment properties that can be considered both residential and commercial can also be challenging to market. Using your local residential MLS and a national commercial MLS system like Loopnet is an effective way to ensure your property is being seen by both residential and commercial agents.
11. Hire a Freelance Professional to Write Your Descriptions
We know that a photo is worth a thousand words, but most real estate descriptions aren’t worth 10 words. Let’s face it: Most real estate agents are not good writers. You can WOW your sellers and attract more buyers with professional property descriptions that are written to invoke the emotions of the reader.
If you insist on writing your own listing descriptions, do yourself a favor and check out our in-depth guide, How to Write Creative Real Estate Listing Descriptions + Examples.
12. Syndicate Your Listing to the Top Real Estate Websites
Most MLS systems automatically syndicate your listings to over 1,000 websites, including Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and even your competitors’ websites. This makes certain that as many homebuyers as possible will see your listing. The belief is that the more people who see your listings for sale, the higher the prices your sellers will get.
Many sellers are not aware that their property will be automatically syndicated and may choose another agent who explains the benefits of syndication. If your MLS doesn’t offer syndication, you can do it yourself through ListHub.
Digital Marketing & Advertising
Advertising your listings not only creates an opportunity to find a buyer for your listing, but you will also attract future potential buyers for you to sell homes to. Therefore, most top-producing real estate agents today advertise their listings on digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google … and so should you!
13. Facebook & Instagram Ads
Show your sellers that you do more advertising than just placing the property in the MLS. Facebook and Instagram Ads are an inexpensive way to market your listings to the buyers who are most likely to buy a home in your area.
Facebook and Instagram collect a TON of data on their users and can use this data to help you to target your ads toward people in your area who are renters or likely to move in the near future.
If you’re new to Facebook advertising, check out our guide on How to Create Real Estate Facebook Ads That Actually Generate Leads here. If digital advertising is something you’d rather outsource, consider an agency that specializes in Facebook advertising for agents like GenerateAgentLeads.com
14. Google Ads
Similar to Facebook, Google also collects data on its users and can keep your website and landing pages at the top of a potential buyer’s Google search. Using lead generation websites like Propertybase allows you to capture the contact information of these potential buyers for your listings.
You can impress your sellers at the listing appointment by bringing a list of buyers who are currently searching for homes in their area, showing them that you may already have the right buyer for their home.
15. Single Property Websites
A single property website is more than just a listing marketing tour. It becomes a place for you to provide all your marketing, including the property’s unique history and features, virtual tour, 3D floor plan, additional photos, neighborhood snapshot, and your professional marketing copy.
The individual property website becomes your permanent record of your listing and sale of the property, and if you add a Facebook and Google pixel, you can capture the visitor’s IP address for your re-marketing ad campaign.
If you want to include single property websites in your listing marketing, check out our guide on single property websites here.
16. Retargeting Ad Campaign
You know when you visit your favorite website to shop for shoes and after you leave the site (to get back to work), you see that same pair of shoes showing up in ads for days or weeks following? This is re-marketing at work.
Re-marketing is using a pixel from Facebook or Google on your web pages to capture the IP address of your visitors to allow you to keep their attention after they have left your page. Re-marketing is said to increase conversion over 100%.
17. Real Estate Yard Signs
Your real estate sign is an important reflection of your company as well as you. Why spend hours and hours meticulously preparing a property for sale and then place a dented sign with a rusted frame out front? Have a bright, attractive sign that will not only attract prospective buyers who are driving by, but also represent your professionalism.
If you want to learn more about leveraging yard signs for your listing marketing, check out our guide.
18. Call & Text to Capture
As true as your grandma uses a cell phone, capture systems still work! These systems provide a free recorded message about the home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The benefit is that when a potential buyer calls, it captures their number (even if it is blocked) so you can promptly follow up with them.
19. QR Codes
Once thought to be a failed marketing ploy of the early 2000s, QR codes have made a comeback. If you have been to a restaurant lately, you have probably found the convenience of using a QR code versus typing in the restaurant’s entire website address to get to their menu.
Consumers are now ready for QR codes, and having them on your real estate signs and marketing will allow buyers to go directly to your website to get their questions answered quickly. Also, if you are using lead capture systems like Propertybase, QR codes will allow you to seamlessly capture the buyer’s contact information so you can continue to market to them.
20. Branded Directional Arrows
Even with the power of the internet today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) states that over 7% of homebuyers found their home by driving by it. I have found that adding direction arrows to your listing marketing plan will not only guide buyers from busy intersections to your quiet neighborhood home, it will reinforce your image and brand to the other homeowners in the area.
21. Open House Ideas
Open houses have long been a staple in the real estate agent’s listing marketing plan playbook. Yet, due to the pandemic, they may look quite different today than they did even just a few years ago. Nevertheless, open houses are still an effective way to attract interested buyers who may not otherwise reach out directly. Your listing marketing plan should include at least one of the following types of open houses.
Traditional Open House
The traditional open house includes some light advertising on real estate websites and placing 10 to 20 directional signs. Some balloons, snacks, and bottled water and you’re good to go! While it is a very passive way to market your listing, it shows the seller your commitment to sell their home by taking your weekend to promote their home.
If you want to learn more about running a successful traditional open house, check out our guide on 29 Open House Ideas That Will Actually Get You Leads here.
Open House by Appointment
It is hard to say that anything good has come from the pandemic, but if there were, open houses by appointment are one. Marketing the property is the same as a traditional open house; instead of having a free-for-all into the home for three hours, each interested party is directed to schedule a private tour of the property. Each appointment is 15 to 20 minutes and all the available times are limited to three to four hours total.
Virtual Open House
Recently, mostly due to restrictions, virtual open houses have taken the place of the traditional open house. Virtual open houses are usually promoted similarly to a regular open house, but instead of opening the door and letting the buyers in at the scheduled open house time, you go live on Facebook, Instagram, or Zoom and give the viewers a personal tour of the property.
22. Property Research
There are many factors that can affect the value of a home and can be used to help market your listing: zoning use, future city planning, usable easements, and water and mineral rights, to name a few. Seasoned agents know to consider these things when they are pricing a property for sale.
23. Neighborhood Research
If you aren’t already familiar with the property and neighborhood that your listing is in, then you will want to do some research about the neighborhood. This can include public and private schools, proximity to shopping, crime, walkability, and commute times.
24. Listing Information Book
Now that you have taken the time to gather all this useful information, you can put it all together into a listing book to share with potential homebuyers. Don’t forget to include your beautiful photos, disclosures, and copies of receipts of any recent upgrades.
Traditional Advertising Methods
Newspapers, TV, and radio were once the paramount of all listing marketing plans. In many cities today, this type of marketing has become unaffordable for most agents. However, depending on your location, traditional real estate advertising may still be an affordable and effective way to market your listings. Here are some affordable ways to add traditional marketing methods to your listing marketing plan.
25. Newspaper Display Ads
Sellers love to see their homes in print, and nothing does this better than a simple newspaper display ad. Furthermore, according to the National Newspaper Association, 84% of newspaper readers are homeowners with higher-than-average incomes.
To save some Benjamins, join forces with other listing agents to purchase an ongoing display to feature your prized listings.
In many cities, the cost of a display ad in the dominant newspaper is out of the question. In this case, look into smaller or specialty newspapers that cater to a specific demographic or region. These papers are often lower cost than their larger competitors.
You may think that TV advertising is out of the question, but what you may not know is you can purchase lower-cost TV time to run a 22-minute infomercial for as low as a few hundred dollars on your local stations and cable networks.
Like with a display ad in a newspaper, get together with a few other listing agents to offer a once-a-month listing show, where you present your current listing inventory. Obviously, you aren’t likely to pick up a random buyer for your listing, but you will impress your sellers by offering a unique way to market their property.
Be sure to share the recording on your YouTube channel and website.
How is radio a part of a listing marketing strategy in 2021, you ask? Well, in many rural markets, the radio is the best form of marketing. Many of these markets have radio shows that allow you to call in and promote your listings for just a few hundred dollars. This works especially well for unique listings like waterfront homes, farms, and equestrian properties.
Don’t forget to record the promotion so you can share it on your social media and website.
28. Home Magazines
You may not believe it, but home sale magazines are still a viable place to advertise your listings. While overall readership is down in print magazines, in many rural areas with limited MLS coverage, readership remains strong. Companies like Homes & Land also offer an online version along with a buyer home search that can help you capture buyers that are interested in your listing.
29. Listing Fliers & Door Hangers
Listing fliers allow you to combine all your beautiful photos, carefully written property descriptions, and website links all in one easy-to-carry place for your potential buyer. Traditionally, fliers are left inside the house for the buyer to take to remember your listing over the others they visited, and to place in brochure boxes out front to entice curious passersby to stop and take a longer peek.
My favorite tip for the best listing fliers is to add multiple financing options on the back to give prospective buyers an idea of down payment and payment options. Look into a template provider like Lab Coat Agents Marketing Center to make sure your printed materials look impressive and on-brand.
30. Just Listed Postcards
A just listed announcement mailed to the neighborhood will give the neighbors the opportunity to let their friends and family know about the home so they can have a chance to move into the neighborhood.
Offer to mail 100 postcards to the neighborhood as part of your listing marketing plan. Just listed postcards can be mailed for as little as 50 cents to 70 cents each with companies like Mailbox Power or ProspectsPLUS!
Personal Promotion & Networking
Getting the listing is just the beginning of your work. If you want to be able to claim that you “sell properties for more money and in less time,” then you need to get the word out about your new listing. This may take some effort and time, but fortunately, it won’t cost you any money!
31. Promote the Listing to Your Office
Many successful real estate offices effectively promote their listing to the agents in their office. This creates two positive outcomes. The first is it gives your office a chance to sell the property and increase your brokerage’s market share. Second, it insures the agent on the other end of the transaction is professional and ethical (this assumes, of course, that all agents in your office are professional and ethical).
32. Promote to Local Real Estate Agents Who Specialize in the Area
A quick way to do this is by pulling a list of agents who sold a home in the neighborhood in the past six months. Include both the listing and buyer’s agents. Write a personal and polite email inviting them to sell your listing.
33. Promote to the Local Association of REALTORS
Many local REALTOR associations have weekly marketing meetings where agents come together to promote their new and upcoming listings. Make no mistake, deals get done in these meetings! I personally sold a million-dollar apartment building from a three-minute presentation at one of these meetings.
34. Market to Your Personal Database
Target active buyers and investors in your database who are looking for homes in your price range and area. Maybe this listing is a perfect upgrade for one of your past clients, or blast it out to your list of potential buyers that you have aggregated from your advertising.
35. Door Knock the Neighborhood
Now that you have your listing fliers and just listed postcards, distribute them in person to the neighbors by going door to door. This will not only show them that you are working hard to sell their neighbor’s home, it also gives them another reminder to tell their family and friends about your listing for sale.
New to door knocking or just need some tips from top agents? Check out our door knocking tips and scripts.
Organic Social Media Promotion
Marketing a property is all about the eyeballs! The more people who see your listing, the better the chance you have to sell it for top dollar! Social media allows you to quickly get your listing in front of hundreds, and potentially thousands, of people, with just a few clicks.
Do more than just share your gorgeous new listing on your personal page. To effectively market your listing, you must have the right people see it. These are potential buyers and agents with buyers who are looking in your area.
To do this, post your listings in local groups that feature homes for sale and agents groups where agents are allowed to promote their listings. Don’t forget to add it to Facebook Marketplace—it is outstanding for affordable properties and condos.
Lastly, post to your Story. Don’t overthink it—just a short video of you walking through the listing, pointing out all the unique features and why this is the right home for a buyer.
Facebook Pro Tip
Create a custom list of all your real estate agent Facebook friends. Then when you post your listings, post them to your “Real Estate Agent” friends list. This gives you the ability to post frequently about your listings without annoying your other friends!
Pinterest is known to be the place for people to see visually pleasing and creative images. This is why it is perfect for promoting your 100 professional listing photos! The secret is to link it back to your lead capture page so motivated buyers can quickly get in touch with you.
If you need some ideas to marketing your listings on Pinterest, check out our guide to 13 Powerful Pinterest Real Estate Marketing Ideas From the Pros.
Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is about visually appealing images. Think of Instagram like a fashion or luxury home magazine. This is where you promote your impeccably staged listings. Saving beautiful photos of your listings to your profile will show homebuyers and sellers that you take real estate seriously.
Need some inspiration for marketing your listings on Instagram? Check out our guide to Instagram for Real Estate: Can You Really Get Leads?
You might think it’s just for kids, but TikTok is growing by leaps and bounds these days, and agents are successfully using it to market their listings. TikTok makes it easy to get hundreds of people to see your listing. You can do this by posting a short video set to popular music of a unique feature, like a swimming pool, gourmet kitchen, or a sunset from the deck.
Thanks to upstarts like TikTok, Snapchat doesn’t have the power it used to. However, one of the best features of Snapchat is the ability to create a listing post and add it to your city’s story. This instantly puts it in front of thousands (possibly millions) of people!
While it might not be as flashy as some social media platforms, LinkedIn has one huge advantage. People use LinkedIn to learn new things and gain deeper insight. So share your knowledge about real estate by posting stories about the property’s history, the potential usability, or the income potential.
Learn more LinkedIn tips in our article on 9 Ways Smart Real Estate Agents Are Using LinkedIn to Get Better Leads here.
Luxury Home Listing Marketing Ideas
Make no mistake—marketing a luxury home is different than marketing your run-of-the-mill suburban home. Ultra-luxury homes (homes over $20 million) can be even more challenging.
You can’t just put a $20 million home in the MLS and hope it sells. In fact, many owners of ultra-luxury homes don’t want them advertised in the MLS or even a sign in the yard, because they may be important, famous, or just don’t want looky-loos.
So, if you want to sell luxury real estate, you will need to step up your listing marketing plan
42. Market Nationally
The secret to finding ultra-luxury buyers is knowing that they probably already own another ultra-luxury home in an area where homes are just as, if not more, expensive! It’s no secret that many New Yorkers buy vacation homes in Miami, so don’t only advertise your oceanfront Miami mansion locally—place your ads in magazines, newspapers, and online targeting customers in “The Big Apple.”
Next, call the top luxury real estate agents in areas where there are other high-net worth individuals and ultra-luxury homes—cities like Seattle (Microsoft), the Bay Area (Apple), Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York—and ask them if they know of anyone interested in your waterfront paradise.
43. Market Internationally
More than ever before, we are seeing homebuyers coming from cities outside our borders. Over the past 10 years, citizens from countries like India, China, and Germany have been seeing some of the highest gains in wealth, and many of them want a piece of the American dream.
LUXVT will translate and syndicate your lux-listing to over 100 websites internationally as well as the websites of the Wall Street Journal, Robb Report, and Mansion Global. This is a unique reason for the seller to select you over another agent.
44. Create Cinema Style Videos for Your Listing
We discussed video earlier, but we haven’t talked about cinema-quality videos. Luxury buyers and sellers expect more all the way around, and your videos are no different. Stand out by hiring a production company like InTroubleZone Productions, where they specialize in cinematic-style luxury home videos.
45. Hold Broker Open Houses
Broker open houses may not be an effective way to market to sell the average home, but luxury homes are built for entertaining. Broker open houses are unique opportunities for agents to see the inside of a property that they may never get to see again.
A well-executed broker open will attract top producers and luxury agents. To do this, do a search of similarly priced homes that have sold in the past year. Personally invite both the listing and buyers agents. Like the Oscars, provide them with a small gift for attending.
46. Create Luxury Home Brochures
Seriously, you can’t market your luxury home with fliers printed on 20# paper on your home printer! Spend a few more dollars and get full-color, 100# card stock, “book-style” folding brochures. These brochures are large enough to add your professional photos and all the property’s details.
47. Offer the Owner Weekly Marketing Updates
Lastly, to complete the Ultimate Listing Marketing Plan, you will need to give weekly updates to your sellers providing your detailed marketing efforts from the previous week, feedback from the recent showings, and the steps you are going to make the following week to get their home sold.
Thursday afternoons are a great time to block out in your schedule to give your weekly updates. This is because if you need to make a price adjustment, you can do it and promote it in time for buyer’s agents to schedule a showing for the weekend.
Over to You
What strategies do you use in your own real estate listing marketing plan? Let us know in the comments.