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2008-07-14 16:52:09

Personal Marketing That Works in a Tough Market

Personal marketing done right is the greatest source of business for any real estate agent. Done wrong, personal marketing can be an agent’s greatest source of anguish, pouring money into marketing that gets few if any results.

The Misconception
There is a pervasive and extremely costly misconception about personal marketing for real estate agents.
The misconception is that most marketing takes time to work; that it takes six months or longer to see results from most marketing campaigns.
This is simply not true. It is a well spread rumor promulgated by people who promote “off message marketing campaigns” sold to real estate agents.
The Contradiction
There is also a terrible contradiction regarding personal marketing in a real estate agent’s career. 
On one hand, personal marketing is the key to an agent’s long term and continuously increasing success. Yet most of what agents are taught about marketing, from the very beginning and throughout their career, does not work or does not work very well.  
The Challenge and the Goal
It is true that a real estate transaction is often the largest financial transaction of a person’s life. So, it is critical for them to find a real estate agent in whom they have the maximum confidence. personal marketing is the agent’s best way to be that agent for the largest number of people. 
The challenge is in how the agent can cause the maximum number of people to think of the him or her as that particular agent first when it is time to buy, sell and/or refer.
This defines the goal of an agent’s personal marketing: to be first in a client’s mind. 
When anyone who knows the agent thinks of real estate; that agent’s name needs to come to mind. And when the real estate agent’s name comes to mind to anyone who knows them, the person thinks of real estate. 
Then, by definition, an agent’s marketing must always contain a strong reminder of the agent and information about active real estate. 
When marketing pieces or marketing campaigns lack these two elements they are off message. The results of these “off message” pieces and campaigns are most often minimal and disappointing.
The Four Critical Elements
These same four critical elements carry over to effective web marketing, print ads, and all other agent marketing campaigns. 
A strong reminder of the agent and information about active real estate are two of the four critical elements of effective mailings. 
The third element is the agent’s brand. There are two parts to the agent’s brand. First is their visual brand; the layout, color scheme, pictures of the agent, slogan, and/or logo. The other is their service brand; the unique way the agent works with Clients. For the purpose of this article we are referring to the visual brand.
The fourth has some variation depending on the type of campaign. For the agent’s Sphere of Influence and Past Client campaigns the fourth element is a message from the “agent’s voice; what I call a personal message from the agent. For the agent’s farming campaigns the fourth element needs to be a message about the market that is relevant and interesting to the people in their particular farm area. 
The first challenge is how to cause the maximum number of people to think of the agent first when it is time to buy, sell and/or refer. The second challenge is how to consistently translate these four critical elements into the full range of an agent’s personal marketing campaigns. 
Early Success
Many agents are already conducting a somewhat successful Sphere of Influence and Past Client campaigns. Designing these campaigns consistent with these four critical elements, enormously and dramatically increases the results and return on money invested in their personal marketing.   
There are literally thousands of examples of agents who built or re-built their Sphere of Influence/Past Client campaign with the following guidelines and raised their production to exceptional levels. 
An agent starts with a Sphere of Influence/Past Client campaign first because it has the greatest potential and always earns the greatest return. So, we’ll first discuss that campaign.
Design a Sphere of Influence/Past Client postcard campaign. Every postcard should have a significant presence of you, (the agent) on both sides of the postcard. Be sure that there are pictures of active real estate, houses for sale or houses sold. Create a consistent brand with the layout, color, and use of your photos. The postcard needs to be recognized as you and yours at first glance. Fourth and finally, on the mailing label side of the postcard put a message from “Your Voice;” something a bit personal or something that feels like you are speaking directly to these people that know and care about you. 
Always Change a Losing Game
Well designed marketing works. And it works immediately. Your goal is that each mailing piece that is sent receives acknowledgement. That means that one or more people call you. Some will call to simply touch base. Others will call to list or sell. They will call. 
If you send a mailing and get no response you must look at its design and consider making changes. Always make changes if you send a similar design twice without response. 
Keep the four elements, but put in more information about the houses. Add or change a headline. Strengthen your call to action. Make your personal note more compelling. 
Raising Response and Return
Well designed direct mail works. There is no doubt about that. It has been proven by agents in every market. The web, print ads, and other types of personal marketing combined with direct mail give the agent an opportunity to tremendously leverage and increase the agent’s personal marketing effectiveness.
Your Sphere of Influence/Past Client direct mail campaign can drive people to an agent’s web site. Or better, it can drive people to particular pages of your web site. An agent can “show off” his or her latest tools for virtual tours, mapping, tips, news, and the never ending variety of new web tools and services available to the agent. 
The agent’s web site is only as good as his or her ability to drive people to it. The audience that is most important is the agent’s greatest sources of business, namely their Spheres of Influence and Past Clients. 
Direct them to “Find out what your home is worth.” Or, “Get the latest listings immediately delivered to your computer’s inbox.” Or, give them the link to your favorite buyer or seller tips. Invite them to register to receive the listing on any home that comes up for sale in their neighborhood. 
This same type of cross marketing or mixing marketing works with an agent’s print, billboard and other advertising. 
For a Tough Market
Personal marketing done right is an agent’s greatest source of business. Design your marketing based on the principles and ideas above. 
I titled this article ‘Personal Marketing That Works in a Tough Market’ because it is a tough market across the country. The “off message marketing” that was somewhat effective in a good market has less effectiveness in a tough market.
Well designed marketing based on these sound principles and ideas will help you survive in a tough market. Best of all, as the market improves over the next few years. “On message marketing” will elevate you to the top echelon of agents in your area. 
(Rich Levin is a coach, trainer and speaker who specializes in raising agent production.  His latest marketing product gives you a step by step approach to all the ideas in this article plus a CD full of real samples. You can order it at Rich Levin is President of Rich Levin's Success Corp. Contact Rich at 585-244-2700 or

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