Newer agents are almost always surprised when I tell them agents and brokers with killer marketing are not more talented or harder-working than they are. They aren’t luckier either. So why do some consistently crush their marketing goals while others fail? Simple. Smart Realtors create a real estate marketing plan designed for long-term growth early in their careers.
To help you crush your marketing goals in 2023 and beyond, we worked with top-producing broker and coach Sean Moudry to put together a real estate marketing plan template that can serve you for your entire career.
After the template, we’ll walk you through a simple seven-step process to write your own real estate marketing plan. As a bonus, we included a sneaky way to spy on competitors and copy their best-performing Facebook ads.
Download Our Free Real Estate Marketing Plan Template
In order to get the most from this article, you’ll want to download our free real estate marketing plan template. Grab the template below and then come back to learn how to use it.
Download Our Free Real Estate Marketing Plan Template
Once you have the template, put your phone away and get ready to work on one of the most important documents of your career—a marketing plan that will help you achieve sustainable growth and avoid burnout.
How to Use This Marketing Plan Template to Crush Your 2023 Goals
Like any long-term project, writing your real estate marketing plan can be frustrating and time-consuming. The strategies and tips below from coach Sean Moudry will help alleviate some of that stress and speed up the process. Just keep in mind that your marketing plan is a living document and can be refreshed every quarter, so don’t feel like you need to come up with the perfect plan today.
1. Audit Your Marketing Performance & Assets
Before you start working on your marketing plan, you need to assess your past performance to see what worked, what didn’t work, and how you can improve. Why? Simple. Planning for the future is much harder when you don’t have a solid understanding of how you got to where you are today.
So pull together all the data you can to try to turn the money and time spent over the last quarter into numbers. You’re going to want to get data like click-through rates for ads, closing ratios for leads from various sources, and how much you paid for leads and closed deals from different marketing channels.
Audit Your Marketing Performance
For example, let’s say you got 30 leads from Facebook ads last year. Now figure out how many of them turned to appointments, how many went to your nurture list, and how many were involved in deals you actually closed. Next, figure out how much time and money you spent on Facebook ads and try to come up with a rough cost per lead. Using this data, is Facebook a platform you think you should spend more time and money on this year?
📌 Pro Tip
Since your time is valuable, include marketing tasks that you spent time on but didn’t spend money on, like blogging. To quantify time spent on marketing tasks, simply divide the number of hours spent by your rough hourly income.
Use the marketing plan template to do this for all your marketing channels. Here’s an example of what your marketing performance audit should look like:
Q1 Marketing Performance
|Marketing Channel||# of Leads||Total Spend||Cost per Lead||# of Deals||Cost per Deal|
|Coffee & Contracts||7||$162||$23.10||1||$162|
31 Clever Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2023
Audit Your Marketing Assets
Next, gather together all of your marketing assets like your website, slogan, logo, headshot, ads, flyers, and listing presentation. How do they look? Do they work well together? Do they look like they’re all from the same company? Make a general assessment and write down what’s working, what needs improvement, and next steps, if any. Here’s what that might look like:
Q1 Marketing Assets Audit
|Marketing Asset||What’s Working||Needs Improvement||Next Steps|
|Website||Design refresh looks better||Site loads slowly||Reduce image sizes and research dedicated hosting plans|
|Postcards||Just sold postcards||Just listed postcards||Redesign just listed postcards|
|Social Media Templates||This or that posts||Reels||Record and post more Reels|
7 Real Estate Marketing Materials That Will Help You Build a Better Personal Brand
Make Concrete Plans to Fix What Isn’t Working
If your marketing materials need work, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Most agents struggle with design and copy for a good reason—it’s harder than it looks! Luckily, there is a cheat code smart Realtors use to make sure their marketing materials are beautifully designed and ready to generate leads: Coffee & Contracts.
Coffee & Contracts is a marketing platform founded by Los Angeles Realtor Haley Ingram that can help you refresh all your marketing materials in an afternoon. Instead of pulling your hair out on Canva, you get thousands of Realtor-created templates for viral Instagram posts and stories, postcards, flyers, emails, and even video scripts for Reels. As a special thank you to Close readers, use promo code THECLOSE for $15 off your first month.
Visit Coffee & Contracts
2. Write an Honest Mission, Vision & Values Statement
After you’ve audited your past performance and marketing assets, the next step to creating a real estate marketing plan is to write a mission, vision, and values statement that outlines where you want to be in the future, how you’ll get there, and the values that will drive you. While this may seem like a fluffy, pie-in-the-sky exercise, it’s actually one of the most important things you can do for your business. Just ask coach Sean Moudry. Sean has been in real estate for more than 27 years as a superstar agent, brokerage owner, top recruiter for Keller Williams, and now real estate coach, speaker, and author. Every time he sits down with a new coaching client, he has them work on their mission, vision, and values before they do anything else. Here’s Sean on why he thinks it’s so important:
“Agents, brokers, and team leaders who don’t have a MVV are just stumbling around in the dark. Almost all burn out after a few years of success. A strong MVV will guide every decision you make, give you the motivation for long-term success, and help attract long-haul customers who align with your values.”
Here’s a quick rundown of Sean’s process for writing a mission, vision, and values statement that can become the cornerstone of your career.
Write a Mission Statement That Motivates You More Than Money
A mission statement briefly outlines your purpose and fuels your motivation for long-term success. Once you have an honest mission statement, you can use it to make big-picture decisions about your marketing. Whenever you’re unsure about a marketing decision, ask yourself, “How will this help me achieve my mission?”
Contrary to what many new agents think, making money is not a mission that will motivate you for long-term success. Every agent we know who was motivated purely by money burned out and quit after a few years. If you want to survive in real estate, you need to dig deeper.
Here are two questions to help you come up with a highly motivational mission statement:
Why did you get into real estate? What do you really love about your job?
Let’s say you discover that you got into real estate to help your local community in Bedford-Stuyvesant build generational wealth. To turn that idea into a mission statement, write it down in a way that centers your role as a real estate agent:
“The Jones/Smith Team helps the Bedford-Stuyvesant community build generational wealth through real estate.”
Think about that. What will motivate you more to work 70 hours a week? Adding a zero to your bank balance or helping your community build generational wealth?
Write an Audacious Vision Statement
A vision statement outlines where you want your business to be in a specific time frame. Sean counsels his coaching clients to think big here, so try to come up with an audacious but measurable vision.
Here’s an example of a vision statement for our fictional team in Bedford-Stuyvesant:
“To become the No. 1 ranked team by volume in Bedford-Stuyvesant by 2025.”
Discover Your Values That Will Attract Customers
Your values are the very core of your real estate brand and give your potential customers a compelling reason to work with you. What do you value?
Here’s an example of values our fictional team might have:
“The Jones/Smith Team values honesty, transparency, and teamwork.”
If you want a deep-dive on writing your mission, vision, and values, check out Sean’s guide here. It’s written for brokerages, but the same principles apply to agents:
How to Create an Inspiring Mission, Vision & Values for Your Brokerage
3. Create a Swipe File of Your Competitors’ Marketing
The harsh reality of the real estate industry is that there are only so many buyers and sellers out there. To grow your business, you’re going to have to literally take customers from your competition. If you want to do this successfully, you’re going to have to do some snooping to find out what they’re doing wrong, and where you can swoop in and offer something better.
While some of the information you’re looking for here might be private, you might be surprised at how easy it is to gather information about your competitors these days. Here are a few easy ways to get valuable insight into their marketing.
Facebook & Instagram Advertising
Believe it or not, Facebook allows anyone to look at the ads a business is running on their Facebook page. So, find the individual agents, teams, and brokerages fighting over your farm area and start snooping.
Here’s how to do it: Head to your competitor’s Facebook page and click on “see all” in the “page transparency” box in the left column. Then scroll down to “ads from this page” and click on “go to ad library.” If you don’t see this box, head to the page’s About tab, where you can see whether or not they are advertising on Facebook at all.
This page will show you all the ads your competitors have been running on Facebook and Instagram. You won’t get performance data for their ads, but if they’re running the same ad over and over again, chances are it’s working for them.
Take screenshots of the ads you find here, especially ads they’ve run multiple times, and add them to your swipe file. When you’re designing your own ads, you can reference your swipe file to “borrow” ideas from your competitor’s best ads.
In 2023, there is no faster way to tarnish your personal brand than by sending leads to a mediocre website. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is why it’s crucial to assess your competition’s website before making big decisions about your own. Here are a few things to look for and add to your swipe file:
Design and navigation: Does the website look attractive and professional? Does it do a good job of showing off their personal brand? Are brand colors used consistently throughout the site? Is the site easy to navigate?
Lead capture: Do they use pop-ups for lead capture? What calls to action (CTAs) are they using to capture leads?
Loading time: Do all important pages on the site load quickly?
You Don’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel to Improve Your Website
If you find that your website doesn’t stack up to the competition, try AgentFire. AgentFire is the number one rated real estate website platform with an average rating of 4.9 on Facebook and Google and more than 500 reviews. There is a reason AgentFire has such stellar reviews: its sites are affordable, look great, work great, and best of all, allow you to upgrade only the features you want as you scale your business.
Print Advertising & Marketing Materials
You should also try to collect as many of your competitors’ print advertising and marketing materials as you can to add to your swipe file. Take pictures of things like business cards, flyers, postcards, newspaper ads, magazine ads, bus stop ads, and even billboards. These ads are expensive, so chances are your competitors put some thought into them.
4. Research & Create Client Personas for Buyers & Sellers
Now that you’ve audited your past performance and marketing materials, the next step is to create the powerful tool that professional ad agencies use to individualize their marketing: client personas. Personalized marketing makes it much easier to find potential buyers and sellers who resonate with your values and mission. Sean calls this process “finding your tribe.” However, even if everyone in your community shares your values and respects your mission, you can’t just sit back and wait for them to come to you. A secret agent with a strong mission, vision, and values is still a secret agent. Marketing to thousands of people at once is hard. Client personas make the process of creating a marketing plan much easier.
What Are Client Personas?
Client personas are fictional stand-ins based on real-world data from large groups of potential customers that marketers use to help personalize their campaigns and materials. The idea is to create a fictional person to target with your marketing that embodies the demographic data of hundreds, or even thousands, of people in your farm area.
How to Research Buyer & Seller Client Personas
Start by gathering as much data as you can about all the potential buyers in your farm area. Here are some data points to consider:
- Family size
- Own or rent? How long?
- Personal buying/selling history
- Tech savviness
- Education level
Here are a few resources you can use to gather data to build your buyer persona:
|Median age, income, and education levels||U.S. Census Bureau|
|Percentage of buyers vs renters, education levels, marital status||City Data|
|Technology use and lifestyle data||Claritas|
How to Create Buyer & Seller Client Personas
Once you’ve pulled together as much data as you can about the people in your farm area, write it down in one biographical paragraph to create your personas. To help humanize them, include fictional biographical information based on the data you collected. For example, if you know people in your farm area like fishing, include that as a hobby in your persona. Here’s what two buyer personas from a retirement community might look like:
Linda is 68 years old and has lived in Oak Bluffs for eight years, but is now looking for a larger unit to host more family get-togethers. She is widowed and earns $75,000 per year from a combination of investments and Social Security benefits. Linda has purchased and sold three properties in her lifetime, so has a good understanding of the sales process. She has a bachelor’s degree, and in her spare time she likes sailing and playing golf. Her technical skills are low, and she only uses social media to connect with family and friends.
Bill is 65 years old and has lived in Oak Bluffs for five years. He still owns a house in town, but the upkeep is starting to become too expensive to justify. He is married and, combined with his wife, his yearly income is $100,000 from a combination of investments and Social Security. He has bought and sold four homes in his lifetime and has a good understanding of the sales process. He has a high school diploma and in his spare time enjoys fishing and going to baseball games. His technical skills are low and he only uses social media to see pictures of his grandchildren.
Use Your Mission, Vision, & Values & Client Personas to Make Better Marketing Decisions
The next time you’re trying to choose an Instagram template from Coffee & Contracts or decide between different website designs, use your mission, vision, and values statement and customer personas to guide you. Instead of just going with your gut feelings, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- How will this help me achieve my vision?
- Does this reflect my mission and values?
- What would Linda think of this?
5. Choose Marketing Channels; Set Goals & KPIs
Now comes the fun part. Use the data you gathered about marketing performance and decide which channels to double down on this year. For most agents, this will be an easy decision. Just choose the channels that have worked for you in the past, set goals for them, and decide which performance indicators will help you measure your progress toward those goals. If a channel wasn’t working and you don’t have a concrete plan to fix it, consider removing it from your marketing plan.
For example, in the marketing performance audit we did earlier in the article, we found that Facebook ads, postcard campaigns, and Coffee & Contracts were generating leads consistently. Here’s what your goals and key performance indicators might look like for these three channels:
|Facebook Ads||Increase the number of leads from Facebook ads by 20%||Cost per lead (CPL) |
measure in Facebook Ads Manager
|Postcard Campaign||Reach 5% more potential sellers||Number of seller leads from postcard campaign|
|Coffee & Contracts||Grow Instagram followers by 50% and increase engagement rate by 30%||Follower count and engagement rate (use Phlanx to measure)|
6. Create a Marketing Budget
Once you have your marketing channels, goals, and KPIs set, the next step is to create a realistic marketing budget that will help your business grow. Using your performance audit and goals, decide which channels you want to spend more on to help you reach those goals.
While it’s true that spending more money will get you more leads, that’s not enough to grow your business. If you want to see true growth, you need to increase your spend and lower your cost per lead. As you finish each quarter, write down your cost per lead and compare it to the same quarter last year. If it went down, you’re on the right track. If it stayed the same or went up, keep working to optimize that marketing channel.
|Marketing Channel||Q1 2022 Spend||Q1 2023 Spend||Q1 2022 CPL||Q1 2023 CPL|
|Facebook Ads||$1,500 for 50 leads||$1,800 for 66 leads||$30||$27.27|
|Postcard Campaign||$600 for 25 leads||$900 for 36 leads||$24||$25|
|Coffee & Contracts||$162 for 7 leads||$162 for 8 leads||$23.14||$20.25|
7. Create a Marketing Calendar to Plan Your Year
Once you’ve decided which marketing channels you want to double-down on and how much you want to spend, the next step is to plan out your year with a marketing calendar. What you include in your marketing calendar will depend on which marketing channels you’re using, but when it comes to marketing, consistency is key. So fill your calendar with as many daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks as you can. Google Calendar is a great tool to use for this since you can set recurring tasks and reminders.
Over to You
Have a great real estate marketing plan or strategy that you want to share with our audience? Or perhaps a great tip to measure performance? Let us know in the comments.