As a real estate professional, you know far more about the state of the industry than the average person. The best real estate agents are an informational resource, ready to educate prospects about the advantages of home-buying in a down market—lower selling prices and unique buying opportunities. Focus on problem-solving and providing insight to your clients. Strategically sharing your expert knowledge through targeted online marketing is the path to attracting qualified buyers in a down market. Read on to learn specialized realtor marketing tips.
When the economy is booming, it's easy to attract new clients. There is just so much business out there that you barely need to promote your services, and people are enthusiastic about buying and selling (although the smart agent is busy promoting their successes to establish their brand value when there are plenty of successes to promote!).
However, when the economy takes a hit, fear sets in. In rocky economic times, individuals are bombarded by negative media warning them about the dangers of an industry in crisis. Yale University's Professor Robert Shiller, of the infamous Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Index, recently gave an interview in which he predicted real estate prices may be depressed for an entire generation in some markets!
Buyers and sellers hear horror stories about homes going into foreclosure, tightening credit lines and the subprime mortgage fiasco, and it understandably makes them anxious. You really can't blame them. People don't buy or sell a home, when you need business. They make buying and selling decisions at points in their lives that makes sense for them. However, through targeted online marketing, you can educate prospects about why buying and selling in the current market might not be the treacherous endeavor the media portrays it to be. Learn how to navigate the current marketplace with strategic realtor marketing tips like these.
Focus on Giving Rather Than Getting
In most real estate ads, the focus is the agent or broker and their accomplishments. I receive all sorts of agent promotions, and they are almost always the same: a picture of the agent smiling, a line about how they just sold a home in my area or how that agent is the No. 1 agent and a brief, "If you're thinking about buying or selling, call me." Although these types of promotions are largely a waste of money, they can drum up business during a real estate boom, because so many prospects are ready to buy or sell - it's like dropping fish food in the fish tank. In a down market, on the other hand, these types of promotions just don't work, since they are focused on the agent's self-interest, which is "getting" new business regardless of the current life circumstances of the prospect.
When you focus on "getting" business—that is, when your needs are more important than your prospect’s needs, you sound needy. You do not sound like a competent professional who has more clients than you can handle. Instead, you sound like you are begging for business, which, in your prospect’s mind, means you probably are not very good at what you do.
However, with targeted online marketing, you can succeed in the current economy. Marketing that is effective in a downturn focuses on "giving" prospects value. It involves putting yourself in your prospect's mind and asking yourself, “What is this prospect most concerned about, and how can I educate him or her about how to solve this problem?” The more specific, the better. After careful consideration, you should write up a special report or record yourself giving a talk about a particular problem and what your prospect needs to know or do in order to take steps toward solving this problem.
Examples of Special Reports You Can Create:
- The Top 10 Reasons Why This Is a Great Time to Buy a Home, Despite What the Media Tells You
- 25 Ways to Get Financing For Your New Home in a Tightened Credit Market
- 17 Issues You Need To Be Aware Of When Buying Foreclosed Properties
- The Top 15 Mistakes Made by Home Sellers in a Down Economy and How to Avoid Them
Make your report specific to one problem your prospect has. Then, give him the steps required to understand the situation, the options that are available and the best way to solve the problem.
Promote Your Special Reports, Not Yourself
When you run ads or do mailings or post on your Facebook page, make your special report the focus of the offer, rather than a picture of a home or you smiling (smiling pictures are good, but don't make them the focus of your offer). Get a graphic designer to create a nice cover for the report and put a picture of the cover on all your promotions. Include the headline in big letters and make all the text in the promotion focus on why your prospects need to know the information in this guide—all of its benefits and points of interest and how they can get a copy.
If you have successfully targeted your market and have written the guide based on the top concerns of your prospects, a number of people are bound to request your guide. Create a record of all the people who request your guide and build a database of leads you can continue to market to—through more educational materials. These individuals showed a genuine interest in your report and self-selected themselves as good candidates for your services. Of course, some leads will not turn into qualified prospects, but many will. Even if they are not quite in the market for a new home just yet, they may be in a few months.
Education-based marketing works in every market—from booming economies to downturns. Listen to your prospects and clients and learn about their major concerns and biggest worries. If you pay close attention, they will tell you how to market to them. Becoming an informational resource is great for business in any environment. To learn more about real estate marketing, check out Marketing for Real Estate Agents 2.0, SEO for Real Estate Agents and Inbound Marketing: 4 Steps for Creating More Real Estate Leads.