Let’s face it. Because of the tight market, even your best real estate marketing strategies from a few years ago might be on shaky ground in 2021.
To make matters worse, Facebook and Google both changed their algorithms which means getting leads from your feed or organic search is harder than ever, if not straight up impossible.
Scary right? It doesn’t have to be…
Smart agents are learning how to adapt their real estate marketing plans for 2021 to keep pace with all the crazy changes.
In today’s uncertain times agents need a solid marketing plan more than ever. That’s why we created this handy template so you can prioritize and organize your marketing strategies to come out of this with your feet firmly on the ground.
In order to get you thinking strategically, here are 21 foolproof real estate marketing strategies that will work no matter what curveball comes your way in 2021.
1. Market Yourself on the World’s Biggest Real Estate Website
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to 10x your business in 2021: The world’s largest real estate website has only gotten bigger…
See that guy in the middle there? The one with the huge smile on his face? That’s Luke Monroe, Managing Broker for Kendrick Realty.
He’s smiling because he grew his brokerage from nothing to more than 50 agents by doing something very simple.
He buys each agent $3000 worth of Zillow leads every month.
His agents get to focus on selling, (what they do best), and Luke gets to focus on scaling his business.
If you’re serious about scaling your business in 2021, then you need to start taking advantage of the hyperlocal marketing opportunities available on Zillow.
You can sponsor targeted local listings, get prime placement in the agent finder, home valuations, and more.
2. Schedule Email and Text Messages to Your Nurturing Clients
Are you still sending every single email and text messages to your clients, one at a time? If so, I’ve got some really good news for you.
Many of the messages we’re sending to clients still in the nurturing stage of their journey are designed to keep you top of mind. Rather than sucking up your time every single day, using a CRM like CINC allows you to schedule these messages to be sent at just the right time, allowing you to focus your precious time on clients that are ready to close.”
Check out CINC today to see what they have to offer for you, your team, and your brokerage.
3. 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 2021 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.
Best Resources for Getting Paid Leads to Test Marketing Ideas Quickly
4. Engage Former Clients With Experiential Marketing Instead of News & Ads
Why Experiential Marketing Will Work Better Than Facebook in 2021
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 2021, 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 Top Producing Agents Are Using Experiential Marketing in 2021
Need some real world inspiration? Here are three examples of successful agents who used their passions and hobbies to create successful events to engage their former clients.
Jeffrey Goodman, Halstead Property, New York City
Debbie Sonenshine, The Sonenshine Team, Atlanta
Chadwick Ciocci, Chilton and Chadwick, Connecticut
Leanne Stella & Karen Gastiaburo, The Gastiaburo + Stella Team, Halstead New York City
5. 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 2021
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.
For an excellent example of community pages in action, check out Florida Realtors Susan and Jim McCallion’s informative hyperlocal website Sanibel Real Estate guide here.
6. Become The Digital Mayor of Your Farm Area
If you want to start making an impact on your local community right away, a community website from Parkbench can make you the go-to real estate expert in your farm area in a matter of weeks.
With a proprietary community website you can easily network with local business owners and quickly 2x your sphere of influence and get amazing referrals.
Even better, they only allow one agent per farm area, so if you want to get started today, you need to click below to see if yours is still available.
7. 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 2021
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 2021
In order to get quoted in the media in 2021, 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
8. Partner With Local Brands to Help Stage Your Listings
Let’s face it, even if you hire the best home stager in the business, you’re still going to probably get rented furniture and less than amazing artwork.
To help give their Manhattan listing some extra gravitas, Halstead agents Ayo Haynes and Ivonne Velasquez decided to partner with a local piano maker. Having the good fortune to work in Manhattan meant that piano maker was the world famous Steinway & Sons.
While you might not have a world famous piano maker in your farm area, what about a local furniture designer or young artist?
By the way, both pianos she featured in her listings sold. One for $50,000 and one for $100,000.
9. 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 2021 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 2021
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.
10. Stop Renting Your Website!!
There’s no way 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 there are benefits to owning your own site.
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 2021
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.
If you want to start building your own WordPress site, check out this in-depth guide from Fit Small Business.
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.
11. Expand Your Farm Area
My last real estate marketing strategy to beat Facebook in 2021 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 2021
This is an easy one. The more people you can reach, the more leads you will get, and the more closed deals you’ll have in 2021. 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! 2021 Marketing Ideas From Top Producing Realtors
12. Use Instagram Voice Message DMs
“Realtors need to start using Instagram voice messages sent via direct messages and using them at scale. In the last quarter of 2018, I started running experiments with several hundred real estate agents and the results were incredible. Many agents view Instagram primarily as a brand awareness effort, but voice message DMs start a conversation that let you quickly reach people on an emotional level. I’ve seen a 27% increase in engagement with engagement and a 50% increase in qualified leads. It’s easy to do as well. Simply open your phone, click to an individual’s profile, click the message link, and then hold down the microphone icon to send a message. When you release the icon, the message will automatically send.”
-Kurt Uhlir, Chief Marketing Officer, Showcase IDX
13. Pitch Real Estate Story Ideas to Local Television and Radio Stations
“Before real estate I was a television news anchor, I utilize those skill sets and knowledge of how newsrooms work to pitch real e
state related story ideas to the local television and radio stations in Phoenix. Going on-air as the go-to real estate expert builds credibility and name recognition. Most newsrooms are understaffed and overworked and weekend newscasts are usually lean on content. Call the newsroom, ask for contact information for the weekend producers and assignment editors, then email in story ideas that are relevant. If it is to a television station, make sure you have a visual element to the story, if it’s radio then create the visual with your dialogue/sound bites. Above all, be authentic, inform the audience and leave all sales pitches at home.”
-Jo Ann Bauer, Realtor – TV & Radio Talent
14. Optimize Content for Voice Search
”For any realtor out there that is blogging or wants to start a blog. I suggest they not only optimize for short keyword SEO, but also long tail keyword searches. With Google predicting over 50% of searches to be by voice. If you can, start optimizing your content for voice searches now. You will see the results down the line.”
–Brandon Hindle, Team Leader The Hindle Team
15. Talk to People in Your Sphere of Influence Every Day
”Agents need to carve out time every day to reach out to their network by picking up the phone and talking with them, meeting with them to conduct annual real estate reviews, and asking for business and referrals. They should be sending personalized, handwritten note cards to at least two people per day. Agents needs to be accessible and become the real estate expert for everyone they know and there is only one way to do this and that is to use the simplest marketing strategy in the world, talk to real people on a daily basis and stop hiding behind a computer screen.”
-Tammy Powell, Regional Vice President, Carrington Real Estate Services
16. Rank Content on Google by Improving Top Ranking Local Content
”Pick a community you already market to and want to rank for in Google — then search Google for “[community name] real estate,” “[community] homes for sale,” “sell house [community],” etc. and visit the top-ranking site for each term. Take the general flow of the top-ranking page and create content that’s more helpful, compelling, and useful than the current top-ranked page. Now promote it heavily on social media and pay-per-click advertising!”
–Tyler Marrin, Head of Marketing, The Keri Shull Team
17. Start a Community-Focused Real Estate Podcast
”Savvy real estate agents should implement a community focused podcast in 2021. There is a skyrocketing number of people listening to podcasts and the stats indicate that regular podcast listeners have a higher level of affluence. Most are deterred by the sheer number of podcasts already available, however, you are not competing with most podcasts; you are only after a local audience. In 2021 and beyond, we expect audio to continue to grow at a rapid rate.”
-Michael Montgomery, Real Estate Coach
18. Develop Stronger IRL Relationships in Your Local Community
“Develop real relationships with clients and make connections… sponsor a local team, be seen in the community, go door to door introducing yourself and inviting them to an open house you have in the neighborhood. You will get better ROI on time and money for the cheap/free stuff that just takes effort because most agents don’t put in that effort, you will stand out!”
-Chase Michels, Chicago Realtor
19. Drone Photography Still Wows Buyers & Sellers Alike
”One of the most proven real estate marketing strategies we have used recently and plan to continue to use and expand in 2021 is drone photography. We recently sold two very specific properties (one a horse farm in Rural NC and one a waterfront estate in Edenton NC) in a 30 day time period. These properties would usually take an average of 3-6 months to sell and many in that market take much longer. The Edenton waterfront property has comparable properties that have been on the market for as long as 18 months.We provide as part of our marketing, an exceptional aerial drone tour of the properties, along with interior professional photography, combined that with social media and internet marketing. We are excited to offer this drone photography strategy to all of our listings to help our firm stand out above the rest. We also sold a $250,000 house that had been on the market for almost a year by another firm in 30 days, thank to our drone video and photography.”
– Nelene Gibbs, Hampton Roads Realtor
20. Try Using Paid Promotion on Instagram
“I have found that, locally, there is far less saturation on Instagram than Google search, so the dollars I spend on IG promotion go further than trying to compete for top spot on Google. Plus, I’m able to connect with individuals much faster and easier when they engage on IG. I’ve found it to be a great addition to my marketing strategy, where I thought my SEO efforts weren’t working as well!”
– Chris Taylor, Boston Realtor
21. Partner With Local Businesses to Offer Deals to Your Leads
“I recommend working with local companies to do a video or some type of give back. For example, I would do a ‘how to prep your lawn for winter’ with a local lawn service and then work with the company to offer your clients a discount, ie: 10% off first service when you mention AV Realty Team. This helps make you become a source for your clients by adding value. Plus you put it on social media or on your email blast and now you are also connecting to the vendors database so you are adding new eyes to your company.”
– Andréa Vaccarelli, Virginia Realtor
The Bottom Line
Even though changes with Facebook’s news feed will be tough on Realtors, if you use the proven real estate marketing strategies in this article, you will get more leads, close more deals, and have a killer 2021.