Sending out real estate marketing letters are not just a one-dimensional technique for generating leads and staying in touch with homeowners in your farming area. Direct mail techniques and email marketing can work in concert with other online and traditional strategies to increase your visibility, strengthen your name recognition in your farming area, reactivate old client relationships, build your reputation as a source of credible advice and information, and help brand you as consummate real estate professional — one that clients can trust and depend on for outstanding service. Here are a few tips for creating a cost-effective integrated marketing strategy, in which one technique tends to support and reinforce others.
Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents
- Quarterly real estate marketing newsletters: Information-laden bulletins sent out through the postal mail and/or email can be a great way to maintain “top of mind awareness” among your farming area, email subscriber list, and professional network. In order for it to be an effective real estate marketing tool, it should contain information, announcements, and updates that are useful, relevant, and timely. You might also want to experiment with the effectiveness of distributing newsletters on a monthly, rather than quarterly basis — perhaps in a more “capsulized” form. It all depends on your time and inclination, your ability to streamline the process, and the responsiveness of your mailing list. Using email marketing services, such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, GetResponse, AWeber, or Fluttermail* can help you automate the process of building a subscriber list, managing the list, and staying in touch with your real estate prospects and clients. If you need relevant content or article ideas for your newsletter, there’s a real estate marketing kit* you can download that includes 260 newsletter articles and 320 real estate marketing letter templates for creating real estate thank you letters, referral requests, agent introduction letters, open house invitations, letters to new parents with growing families, FSBO prospecting letters, short sale prospecting letters, expired listing prospecting letters, and other real estate marketing templates for generating leads, networking, and cultivating client relationships.
- Developing a real estate blog and adding new posts and information to it twice a week can help you generate more visitors to your real estate website, and increase the number of inquiries and prospects in your pipeline. As is the case with publishing a real estate marketing newsletter, mentioned above, a real estate agent blog can position you as an expert in the local real estate market and help brand you as a credible source of information and advice. That can be a big step toward earning trust and credibility in your farming area. Blogs also have the potential to achieve high rankings on Google and the other search engines, which can potentially lead to a steady stream of Internet visitors to your website. (A rudimentary knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) can help you achieve visibility on the major search engines, although the most important things you need to know about SEO are how to identify and use relevant, searched for “keywords” in your content and how (and why) to get other websites to link to your real estate blog and/or website.)
- Real estate marketing postcards: Real estate postcard marketing tends to be an effective way to call attention to your “just listed” and “just sold” properties, and can also reinforce your name and face recognition in your real estate farming area. Real estate postcards are effective from a visibility standpoint, because there’s no envelope to open or “subject line” to click on. Prospects are going to at least take a quick look at your postcard when they’re shuffling through their mail, and if it’s a well-designed, well written direct mail piece, then interested prospects will take a closer look at it and contact you if they’re thinking of buying or selling a home. For helpful tips on marketing with postcards, check out a series of postcard marketing articles I posted on this website.
- Real estate marketing flyers are also a component of a well-orchestrated real estate marketing campaign. In addition to the most obvious uses of real estate flyers (handing them out at open houses and making them available in brochure dispensers/flyer boxes), real estate listing flyers can also be distributed via email and can accompany your marketing letters and real estate agent introduction announcements. If you sponsor workshops and seminars for first-time homeowners — which can often be an effective marketing strategy — there’s a good chance that your attendees will be interested in your current property listings. For more information on real estate open house flyers, visit this page on my website for marketing tips and real estate flyer templates.
- Public relations/media relations strategies for real estate agents: As someone who used to be actively involved in the public relations profession, I’d venture an educated guess that most people do not really know exactly what public relations is and what it entails. It’s true that one aspect of public relations for real estate agents is being seen at community events, shaking hands, schmoozing, and networking. However, an equally, if not more important, facet of public relations involves developing a relationship with the media and generating positive publicity for newsworthy announcements and the agent’s knowledge and expertise about the local real estate market. Two strategies for generating publicity are sending press releases to local news outlets — but only when you have something newsworthy to announce — and making it known to reporters, editors, and bloggers that you are an authoritative source of information on the real estate market (if that’s true) and are available for interviews, updates on the local real estate market, background information, and quotes for feature articles and news stories. Media relations is an underused, sometimes misunderstood real estate marketing strategy, and if you incorporate it into your overall real estate marketing plan, it can give you a competitive edge over real estate agents and Realtors who do not leverage the media to get free publicity and instant credibility.
- Real estate video marketing is another marketing tool that is not being used to its fullest potential — or at all — buy many real estate agents. Whether you post real estate videos on YouTube, your website, or both, you’re going to attract and engage more prospective clients to your listings and your real estate services. Although a picture may be “worth a thousand words”, an online video has even more impact. If you take advantage of the power of real estate video marketing, you will have a decided advantage over other real estate agents who do not know how to do it or are unaware of its potential as a lead generation marketing tool.
So getting back to my original topic, which was how to get more mileage from your real estate farming letters and prospecting emails, there can be a lot of value in a well-planned integrated marketing strategy:
When your real estate marketing plan includes a variety of complementary strategies, you tend to create a synergistic effect, in which the momentum of the campaign can be greater than the sum of the individual parts.
In relationship to real estate prospecting letters: When people in your farming area have already heard about you in the media, through advertising, from direct mail, or via word of mouth, then they’ll have more of a tendency to pay attention and respond to your marketing messages than if you were unfamiliar to them.
This ties in with the sales principle that Dale Carnegie may have popularized decades ago, although it’s often attributed to other people. Although it’s logical and intuitive, we often forget that people tend to do business with other people who they know, like, and trust. So it pays to be known in the community and to be perceived as a real estate agent who is a not only an expert in their field, but is also trustworthy and likable (It sounds like a tall order to be all those things at once!) Personally, I think that the likability factor carries the most weight and comprises well over 33% of the equation.
As a side note, it can also be beneficial, from a public relations standpoint, to be associated with charitable events, fundraising drives, worthwhile causes, and volunteerism. Not only will you solidify relationships and enhance your image in the community, but the charitable cause you volunteered for benefits, too. (a win-win proposition!)
Marketing Tips for Real Estate Prospecting Letters
Many of my previous blog posts have focused on strategies for generating leads and producing more results from real estate marketing letters. However, I would like reiterate and elaborate on some of those key points:
- Include lots of contact information in your marketing and prospecting letters, since different people prefer different modes of communication. Some prospects will feel more comfortable emailing or texting you, while others would rather visit your website, blog, Facebook page, Linkedin profile, or Google Plus page, first, instead of plunging right into a conversation. (They need to be “warmed up” a little bit.) My point is this: In general, people like a lot of different options, when it comes to contacting you or learning about you. While it’s not always necessary or advisable to spend a lot of time on social media marketing, it IS a good idea to have a social media “presence.”
- Make your prospect the focus of your letter: In your real estate prospecting letters, try to avoid the temptation to make the letter all about you. The ideal farming letter strikes a balance between introducing yourself and focusing on how you can help your prospects sell their home and/or find another property that better suits their needs.
- An essential ingredient: One thing that can render a real estate marketing letter ineffective is to forget to include one or more “calls to action.” Tell people what you would like them to do to respond to your letter, and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. An excellent place in your farming letter to reiterate your call to action is at the very end, too. If you include a “P.S.” or even a “BTW…”, there’s a good chance your prospects will notice it and read it.
- First impressions count! Make your real estate prospecting letter visually appealing by breaking up your message into plenty of paragraphs and using bullet points to organize your information and call attention to individual points. Nobody likes to look at, let alone read, a page of continuous text that doesn’t have “white space,” bullet points, and a logical flow of information.
- Edit and proofread… Avoid anything in your marketing letter that could look unprofessional or “annoying”, such as typos, factual errors, or excessive use of exclamation points (!!!!), bold words, italics, hard-to-read fonts, or too much underlining. Another cardinal sin of written communication is using ALL CAPS, except on a very limited basis. In emails, real estate letters, and websites, for example, ALL CAPS is the equivalent of SHOUTING at your audience! And speaking of alienating potential clients in your farming area, you may want to “tread lightly” or avoid making reference to things like political affiliation, religious affiliation, or even sports team favorites. Although it could work in your favor, depending on the target group, it could potentially backfire, too. When marketing your services to a heterogeneous group, you generally don’t want to risk alienating individuals or saying anything which could make them feel excluded. Of course, every target group or audience is different, so it’s best to approach things on a case-by-case basis and use your best judgement.
Thanks for checking out my latest opinions, thoughts, and observations on real estate farming letters, marketing tools, public relations, and real estate lead generation. I invite you to stay tuned to this blog for more information and insights on everything from real estate postcard marketing to online lead generation.
By the way, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck in all your real estate marketing campaigns — both large and small!
Freelance writer, business blogger, marketing consultant
*Disclaimer: My real estate marketing blog posts feature links to digital products, templates, email marketing services, and other websites for which I am a compensated affiliate.