Let’s face it. Even your best real estate marketing ideas from a few years ago might be on shaky ground in 2018.
Here are just a few of the crazy changes that will affect how you market your business in 2018:
- Facebook just announced a massive change to their news feed that pushes your content even further down.
- Investors have been piling money into instant offer sites like Opendoor that promise to “disrupt” your business model.
- Zillow changed its MLS policies, and even launched their own instant offer program.
- There have been several major Google search algorithm updates that affect local search, images, and videos making it even harder to rank your site on Google.
Scary right? It doesn’t have to be…
Smart agents are learning how to adapt their real estate marketing plans for 2018 to keep pace with all the crazy changes.
In order to get you thinking strategically, here are seven fool proof real estate marketing ideas that will work no matter what curveball comes your way in 2018.
1. Use Paid Lead Sources to A/B Test Marketing & Nurturing Ideas Quickly
Statistics can be tricky. While closing one of the two leads you got in a month is technically a 50% closing rate, what would happen if you got 100 leads?
In order to truly test the viability of a real estate marketing strategy, you need leads. Lots and lots of leads. If you want to run a seller’s drip campaign, you’re going to need seller leads. If you want to run an SMS drip to buyer’s, you’re going to need buyer leads.
Luckily, in 2018 you can cut out the middleman and just buy leads.Once you get a decent number of leads, you can try A/B testing different strategies with different lead sets to see what works best quickly.
Getting Accurate Results Real Estate Marketing A/B Tests Takes Time, or a Ton of Leads!
I you want to accurately test out a new marketing idea, or tweak one that’s already successful, then you’re going to have to wait for enough leads to have the data make sense.
Like I said, closing one out of the two leads you get in a month is technically a 50% closing rate, but there are so many other variables at play that you need to wait until you have enough leads to compare results.
This can take months if you’re only getting a trickle of leads. Then you’re going to have to factor in new seasons, market conditions, and inventory into your tests which is extremely complicated.
Best Resources for Getting Paid Leads to Test Marketing Ideas Quickly
While there are a ton of companies selling leads online these days, there are only a handful that can deliver the volume and quality of leads you’ll need to perfect your marketing quickly. Here are the three best places to buy leads in 2018:
2. Engage Former Clients With Experiential Marketing Instead of News & Ads
Why Experiential Marketing Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
Instead of sending them a barrage of market news or pictures of your latest listing, why not give them an offline experience they’ll remember?
That’s right, I said OFFLINE.
As any experienced broker in your office will tell you, 5 minutes of in person contact with your former clients is worth 500 Facebook posts.
After all, when you engage with your sphere in person, you stop being a distraction as they scroll through their newsfeeds, and become an actual person again.
You’ll Give Them Something to Talk About & Share
As if that wasn’t enough to get you thinking about taking your marketing offline more in 2018, studies show that your former clients will not only be more engaged, but are likely to share the experience you offer them on social media as well.
In fact, a recent study by the Event Marketing Institute found that 98% of consumers capture content (photos, videos) at live events, and 100% of those that do share it across social media.
To put it another way, what do you think your former clients are more likely to share? Video from a Saturday spent whale watching or beer tasting or your latest market report?
You’ll Get More Engagement if You Plan Events Around Your Passion or Hobbies
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Getting people off Netflix and out of the house is super hard. While that may be true, it’s much, much easier to promote events you care about. The key is to try and plan events around your own passions and hobbies. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Organize a tour of a local historic neighborhood
- Set up a wine or beer tasting at a local micro brewery
- Host an end of season party for your local youth soccer team
- Run an educational seminar on a real estate or investing topic like Bitcoin
- Charter a fishing or whale watching boat
- Organize a cleanup day at a local park or beach for charity
- Hire a local interior designer or professional organizer and host a class or decorating Q&A
- Hold informational seminars or mixers for first time buyers
- Rent out a local bar and host a film showing
- Organize a kickball game and provide a box lunch & drinks
How Four Top Producing Agents Are Using Experiential Marketing in 2018
Need some real world inspiration? Here are two examples of successful agents who used their passions and hobbies to create successful events to engage their former clients.
3. Use Strategic PR to Build Your Brand & Links to Your Website
Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret about Journalism. It’s damn hard work that NEEDS to be in by the deadline. That means journalists are constantly scrambling for great sources to back up their great ideas.
This article is a great example. Sure, we have an amazing staff with decades of combined real estate experience, but the quotes from actual top producing agents turn a good article into a great article.
You may be shocked to hear this, but great quotes can be hard to come by on a deadline. As a rule, top producing agents are busy. Which means they don’t always have time to answer an email from their PR flack…
That’s where you come in. Sitting there right now you probably have more on-the-ground insight into the local market than any journalist. What’s more you’re ready to talk about it right now, while that top producer is out closing a $10 million deal with her phone on airplane mode.
Why Strategic PR will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
While providing quotes for the press may sound fun, it’s also one of the best ways to build your brand and stay top of mind. There are four very good reasons for this.
1. Being Quoted in the Media Makes You an Instant Expert
Even if you have a dismal number of closed deals and reviews on Zillow, anyone reading an article you’re featured in will assume you’re an expert. After all, why else would the media be quoting you? Of course, they more than likely don’t know the journalism secret I shared with you above, but it doesn’t matter.
2. Being Quoted in the Media Will Expose You to a Much Larger Audience
Think about it. How many people do you think your Facebook posts or Tweets reach on a good day? 100? 200? An article in your local paper might be read by thousands of people. If you get good at it, you may even get your quotes picked up by national media outlets.
3. You Can Include Your Media Exposure on Your Website & Listing Presentation
What better way to show your leads that you’re a real estate expert than providing links to media stories that quoted you as a real estate expert?
4. You Can Build Links to Your Website & Rank Higher in Google
One of the most important criteria that Google uses to rank articles and websites is how many other people are linking to the site. In Google’s eyes, more links = better site. When you pitch your quotes to media outlets you can often get them to link to your site. This can mean a huge advantage over local Realtors who have no one linking to their sites.
How to Get Quoted as a Real Estate Expert in Media Outlets in 2018
In order to get quoted in the media in 2018, you only need one secret weapon: H/A/R/O, aka Help a Reporter Out. Here’s how it works:
Journalists (including yours truly) who need an expert source for an article write up a “query” that goes into detail about the kind of quote they need. For example, when I was working on an article about probate leads, I put out a query asking for experts in the probate process.
HARO then sends out a daily email with queries from dozens of journalists. Expert sources (that’s you) read that email, then write up responses or offer to be interviewed for the stories. That’s it!
How to Get Your HARO Pitches Accepted by Journalists
As someone who reads hundreds of expert pitches per week, here are a few tips to increase your odds of getting your pitches accepted and quotes in the media.
- Write short, snappy, quotable responses to questions
- Include your bonafides, along with a professional headshot
- Respond to HARO queries right away Journalists are often on tight deadlines
- Edit your responses! You would be surprised how many I get that are riddled with typos and grammatical errors
- Offer to be interviewed and give them times you will be available
- Remember to follow up and ask for a link to your website
- Offer yourself as a source for future articles
4. Invest in 3D Tours & Virtual Staging for Every Listing
Hey, I never said beating Facebook with your real estate marketing would be cheap did I? Of course like all good marketing ideas, this one has a great ROI. I promise.
I know, I know, $200 for a Matterport tour is going to seriously eat into your commission on starter homes and they’re not going to look that impressive anyway right? Sure, but they will be VERY impressive for one group of people. Your homeowners.
Why 3D Tours & Virtual Staging Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
In other words, the most important people for the future of your business in your CRM. The ones that will enthusiastically refer you to friends, family, and colleagues who are also looking for a great agent.
To put an even finer point on it, imagine you were trying to sell your home and two agents pitched you, both with relatively equal track records. One has neato Matterport tours on every listing and the other has crummy iphone photos. Who are you going to hire?
Impress The People Who Matter Most to Your 2018 GCI
Okay, fine. Their three bedroom bungalow isn’t going to look as impressive as a Malibu estate in 3D or virtually staged. Obviously. Your homeowner also probably doesn’t have movie star friends to refer your services to.
What she does have is friends who own three bedroom bungalows just like hers.
Best Resources for 3D Tours & Virtual Staging
5. Invest More Time & Effort into R&D
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. I sell houses, what the heck do I need research and development for? Glad you asked! In this case, R&D does not stand for research and development. It stands for Ripoff & Duplicate.
Yes, you read that right. In 2018 I want you to not only start taking your competition seriously, but to research what they’re doing and do the exact same thing.
Here’s the thing. Unlike say, an algorithm, your competitors marketing is right out there in the open for anyone to see. In fact, if they’re hiding it than chances are it’s NOT working.
R&D For Your Blog
Here’s how to do it. Create a new folder on your desktop or better yet, a Pinterest board, and name it swipe file.
Next, head over to the blogs on Zillow, Trulia, Streeteasy, Curbed, Realtor.com, and any big local brokerages in your farm area.
Now start taking screenshots and putting them in your swipe file. You should also write down blog titles, topics, and when they post, and don’t forget to sign up for their email list!
Finally, head over to a site like Buzzsumo and check out how many social shares their articles are getting. Take the articles that are getting lots of social shares and create your own article using that subject and a similar headline. The trick is to use what digital marketers call the skyscraper technique; that means taking a good article and building on it to take it to the next level.
Use The Skyscraper Technique to Take an Article Idea to The Next Level
For example, maybe you’ll find curb appeal article or first time home buyer articles get the most shares. Check out those articles and see where you can do better. What crucial info are they missing? Is the writing fun and easy to read or boring and stiff?
R&D for Video
Don’t stop with your blog posts! Since video is so hot these days, check out popular videos other agents are making and create one of your own on a similar topic. A great resource for this is BombBomb’s recent list of the top 80 video real estate influencers. Check it out here.
Why R&D Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
Simple. Companies like Zillow and Realtor.com spend millions on advertising and content creation. If they’re writing a blog post or creating a video, chances are they have a very good reason for doing it.
6. Learn How to Make Community Pages to Rank On Google for Niche Keywords
Combined with real estate marketing idea number two, this idea will be a great way to boost your site’s ranking on Google.
The idea is to make dozens (or ever hundreds) of pages that target niche keywords in your farm area.
Next, populate those pages with a listings feed from your IDX provider showing dynamic listings in those areas.
Finally, write up useful information about the area or type of home your targeting with each page.
For example, let’s say that horse farms are popular in your farm area. You could create a page titled something like, “Horse Farms For Sale in ______” then write up some helpful tips buying these properties, and add IDX listings of horse farms to the page.
You can use sites like Ahrefs, Moz, or Google Adwords to figure out how many people are searching for these keywords.
Why Creating Community Pages to Rank Niche Keywords on Google Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
The main reason this strategy can work so well is that chances are, very few people will have pages that are as specific as yours. That will make it much, much easier to rank on the first page for those keywords. Even though only a handful of people may search for such niche keywords, you can build an unlimited number of pages to target them to build an audience.
7. Stop Renting Your Website!!
There’s no to soften the blow here so I’m just going to come out and say it. Owning your own website is almost always preferable to renting one. While sites from Real Geeks, Boomtown, or Chime look great and have tons of features they are not an ideal solution.
First of all, what happens when the company you’re signed up with goes out of business? What happens when they raise their prices?
Worse, since you don’t actually own your website, a private company has access and control to the backend of your site. That can be great if they’re working on making your site better, but as we all know, this might not actually be the case. They could theoretically slow down your site in order to get you to pay for an upgrade…
Look, all of the companies I mentioned above are dedicated to helping agents get more leads. The chances of them hobbling your site to push you into an upgrade are slim. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist though right?
Instead, why not OWN your site and domain so you can do whatever you want without worrying about paying steep monthly prices for “upgrades” you could have installed yourself?
Why Creating Your Own WordPress Website Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
If you work hard at idea number two and get lots of links, and work hard at idea number three building out niche community pages, your site WILL start to rank decently on Google. Sure, this will take time, but at the end of the day you will own the whole thing. That means that if you do decide to move or leave the business, you can sell your website for thousands to a new Realtor.
Or , if you’d rather buy a turnkey setup, check out the BREW websites from Lori Ballen. They’re not cheap, but they are specifically designed for SEO, and come with incredible tutorials to help you build them out.
8. Expand Your Farm Area
My last real estate marketing idea to beat Facebook in 2018 is a little risky, but could pay off more than all the others combined. It’s also pretty simple:
Expand your farm area!
The concept is simple. The more people you can advertise to, the more potential leads will come down the pike.
In order to choose where to expand to, start working on demographic research to see which areas are growing fastest, or offer a new challenge for you. For example, maybe a neighboring zip code is getting a brand new college campus extension that will bring lots of jobs. A perfect place to expand into!
Once you’ve figured out where you’d like to expand to, you need to gauge how much extra it will cost to target this new area along with your current farm. For example, call Zillow and see how much Premier Agent will cost in the new zip code, and call your direct mail company to see what kind of price they’ll give you for XX more door hangers or postcards.
Why Expanding Your Farm Area Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2018
This is an easy one. The more people you can reach, the more leads you will get, and themore closed deals you’ll have in 2018. That doesn’t only mean a higher GCI, it also means that you will have a whole new crop of former clients to get referrals from in the future!
Bonus! 2018 Marketing Ideas From Top Producing Realtors
9. Drone Photography Still Wows Buyers & Sellers Alike
10. Try Using Paid Promotion on Instagram
11. Partner With Local Businesses to Offer Deals to Your Leads
The Bottom Line
Even though changes with Facebook’s news feed will be tough on Realtors, if you use the proven real estate marketing ideas in this article, you will get more leads, close more deals, and have a killer 2018.