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2010-07-25 21:33:02

Marketing 101: Markteting Shouldn't Cost It Should Pay

Looking to augment your marketing efforts at little or no cost?

A big part of a successful marketing plan is to differentiate yourself from other REALTORS®. This can be done in a number of ways, but needs to be thoroughly planned to dramatically enhance your overall marketing campaign.
 
Many people believe that creating a complex marketing campaign is expensive. Not necessarily true. After all, marketing shouldn’t cost, it should pay. A good marketing plan includes many collateral items that just take a little bit of time and effort, but can yield great results.
 
Analysis shows that consumers may see a message 8-10 times before taking action. And then, only when the opportunity presents itself at the right time. You must not only be repetitive, but consistent in the message as well.
 
Here are some things you should consider to maximize your results.
 
Social Networking: While some social media may be over-hyped, it can be an effective business tool if done right. Having your professional profile on LinkedIn is a must. It is a great way to stay connected with industry colleagues and those you have worked with in the past.
 
Facebook.com is another option for both individuals and companies. While Facebook was created by a college student as a way for college students to stay in touch and share information, it is now at 500 million users and counting.
 
The opportunity for real estate professionals is twofold. Setting up a business site is easy and is a great tool for sharing information and storing social media. Instead of inviting friends, you have fans. It’s an effective way to disseminate information to your sphere. Check out the RealTown Facebook page. A professional looking personal page is the second opportunity and a way to link up online with other colleagues and friends.
 
Twitter is another option, but not really overly effective for a real estate business.
 
A word of warning: Never post anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times. Today’s Internet searches can capture and catalog a lot of info, even long after the site was changed or content removed. So be warned.
 
Video/Webinars: As processors continue to offer more power and computers offering a huge amount of hard-drive space, the use of videos and online presentations has exploded. Digital cameras continue to evolve at an incredible pace.
 
Consider creating your own video for your websites that can be posted on You Tube and other sites at a very low cost. Online editing software makes it easy to create professional-looking presentations. Webinar authoring and Virtual Tour software has also become very-user friendly.
 
Industry Sites: Perhaps one of the most overlooked ways to leverage your marketing dollar is through industry-themed sites such as RealTown, ActiveRain, and others.
 
Sites such as RealTown.com are often used by the media to generate ideas and content for articles. Longtime RealTalker Lew Sichelman often seeks input from the online community and creates articles that are syndicated through a number of outlets including MarketWatch.com.
 
Get your profiles up and running in as many places as possible and make sure you keep them updated for new links and affiliations.
 
Public Relations: Newspapers and other media outlets are constantly looking for content. Work on establishing yourself as the local real estate expert. Study trends and market conditions to create informative articles for potential consumers.
 
Introduce yourself to local real estate editors; start with small, community papers. Today, media websites need more local content than ever. For some samples and examples, take a look at RealTown Featured Author Ed Segal’s articles on effective public relations.
 
Community Events: Two words: Get involved. It’s true. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Real estate has always been a people business and in today’s free information world, relationship building is more important than ever.
 
If you are not already, become an active member of the local chamber and participate in as many events as possible. Not just brokers, but agents as well. Not only is it a great way to earn referral business, but also a chance to find local businesses that might consider helping you cover website costs in exchange for publicity.
 
Community Blog: Create a free Blog (Like those available on RealTown) for the community. Invite local groups to provide content. Some ideas include things like Little League and other youth sports, the local social scene, church news, community groups and so forth. Most have a contact person who can assist you.
 
Having local, community content will also assist you in Search Engine Optimization when you link your blog, your website and other information sources.
 
Take a look at the Shave Head Lake blog on RealTown.com. Sites like this offer you a great opportunity to create a local database for e-mail correspondence such as newsletters and real estate updates.
 
Service Clubs: Local groups are perhaps the best referral opportunity out there, and not necessarily regarding membership. By establishing yourself as the local real estate expert, you open yourself up for speaking engagements. And not just for men’s clubs, but also for the ladies as well. And, after all, they are the ones usually making the decision. ;-0
 
Fundraisers/Charity: As a REALTOR you are in a unique position to assist people in getting a piece of the American Dream. When I was at CENTURY 21, we were heavily involved in Easter Seals. We were raising more than $5 million a year. And 90% of it was spent in the local community. There were several brokers who built entire homes from donations and raffled them off with the entire proceeds going to the program.
 
Another great option is Habitat for Humanity, great for the community and a great PR opportunity as well. Get the entire office involved. This is a great way to give back and boost morale, and creates a great opportunity to network with local vendors.
 
Professional Image: Where ever you are, where ever you go, there you are. A great way to enhance your image is simply by presenting a professional appearance when out in public. While you don’t have to wear a gold coat, lapel pins identifying yourself as a REALTOR is a conversation starter. Signs for your car with a web address is also a good idea if done tastefully.
 
These are just a few of the opportunities out there.
 
Sound overwhelming? You might want to enlist the help of a local college student or a virtual assistant to assist you in some of these efforts.
 
All of these tips need to be looked at when sitting down to create your marketing plan for 2011. Remember, this is only a beginning and these are just the fundamentals of creating your marketing plan.
 
And don’t forget the most important part: Tracking. You don’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.
 
And, by the way, you might want to get started soon. It’s already July.
 

 
 
(Rich Hudson is Owner of One-Stop Desktop. The company specializes in keyword-rich, highly localized copy for real estate websites, website review and analysis, marketing and public relations, online publishing, social media and more.)
 

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