How can I structure an effective real estate agent marketing strategy?

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Answered by: Ray, An Expert in the Business Real Estate - General Category
Real estate agents concern themselves primarily with their clients' buying and selling activities of real properties. To succeed in the highly competitive real estate sales industry, however, they must also commit themselves to structuring an effective real estate agent marketing strategy.

Since most buyers and sellers are at a loss of how to navigate the often incomprehensible complexities of modern real estate transactions, they naturally look to real estate agents for guidance and support. Most buyers and sellers therefore choose an agent whom they can trust, and with whom they have established some type of a personal relationship. Therein, then, lies the answer of how to effectively structure one's real estate agent marketing strategy.

Marketing experts have shown that potential customers must recognize an agent's name at least seven times before it resonates with them. Successful agents therefore maintain an ongoing marketing strategy that keeps their names visible to the public. Typically that strategy includes periodic mailings of post cards, flyers and marketing give-aways, as well as follow-up telephone calls to targeted individuals.

The more successful agents don't rely solely on these backbone marketing techniques, however. They know that human nature favors agents to have business opportunities who engage the public in activities other than real estate transactions. It's no surprise then that agents' faces appear at such non-real estate functions as year-end toy collections, blood drives, cancer awareness marathons, soup kitchens, public television call-ins and any number of high visibility activities that have no direct connection to real estate sales. Through such activities, agents' messages to the public become clear. "Look at me. I'm a good person, helping those in need. Wouldn't you rather buy a house from me?"

Having said that, astute real estate agents recognize that over-the-top marketing, however, can carry certain negatives with it. It's not uncommon, for instance, for certain agents' marketing efforts to be compared to that of intrusive politicians who obviously also strive for name recognition. In such instances, much of the goodwill that is garnered from participating in public events can easily be tarnished with an unfortunate comparison to a politician.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has endured hours of mind-numbing TV advertisements, oversized bill boards and seemingly acres of repetitive placards planted in highway medians. The message sent by those marketing techniques is also clear to the public. "Look at me. I don't care whether I invade your home with my television ads; I don't care whether the landscape is littered with my name and my face on billboards and placards. It's nothing but me. Me, me, me."

The backlash from such unfettered public displays of arrogance has borne an increasing number of municipal restrictions on how real estate agents, and by the way, also politicians, may display their signs on public lands. Such laws are the direct result of consumer complaints that also negatively impact real estate agents' marketing strategies.

Clearly, the answer boils down to common sense. A real estate agent marketing strategy must include the weekly and monthly outreach programs of relevant mailed information. It should also include the active participation in visible events where the public "discovers" the agent's participation rather than the agent shouting for recognition. It should not, however, include invasive in-your-face advertising to get the sale. That technique may be appropriate when selling widgets on TV or impulse-buying items in the check-out line. It is not the method of choice when selling oneself as a professional real estate agent to individuals who have large sums of money at stake when buying or selling a home.

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