By Jesse McCarl
In a recent National Association of Realtors study, home buyers and sellers were surveyed on how they found their real estate agent. The results can certainly give a strong sense of what works well and what does not, in terms of real estate agent marketing efforts. In the wake of these results, however, many Realtors are quick to write off some significant aspects of their budget. Here’s a closer look at marketing success rates so that you can budget accordingly and not waste valuable resource.
First, here are the results from the NAR study-
So with this data in mind, are you wasting your marketing budget on ineffective services?
Where Does That Leave Digital?
If you skim the headlines of people looking at these new statistics, you’ll see a lot of major names claiming that digital marketing is futile. Inman News is one of these sources. However, upon further investigation, you’ll realize that such an analysis is really for the sake of a jarring headline. Inman News even made a follow up to their survey analysis to clarify that Internet business has a lot of benefits that can’t translate into such a two dimensional study.
First, let’s look at the role digital marketing plays in the survey results. Approximately 10% of clients found their agent through digital marketing – whether it be an online presence, social media, SEO, or so on. Over 5 million homes were sold in 2013, with similar figures expected for 2014. So even though 10% may seem like a low stat compared to some other methods, that accounts for 500,000 homes. Half a million customers will find you through Internet means. The agents writing off the significance of digital marketing right now are simply handing you that business!
Furthermore, digital marketing does more than just buy you some clients. You don’t develop a website and SEO just to sell your name, but to sell your actual houses. When 90% of buyers start their home search online, your digital marketing will sell homes even if it doesn’t sell you as an agent. And guess what? You get a commission check either way!
What About Referrals?
For buyers, 50% of customers find their agent via some form of a referral. For sellers, 46%.
If you want to make sure you’re part of the half that retains their business and gets referred to friends and family, you need to invest in staying at the forefront of past clients’ minds.
The best way to ensure referrals and repeat customers is to provide a quality service for each and every customer.
Another way to use your marketing dollars for referral business is to offer incentives. Let clients know that if they refer you as an agent, you’ll reward both parties with $100 gift cards to their favorite restaurant. Offer discounted rates or services to your most loyal customers. The list goes on and on of ways you can put your money where your mouth is in terms of retaining your favorite customers!
Beyond that, however, there have to be other ways to ensure success in this arena. The simplest method to “buy referrals” is to stay in touch with former clients. Send birthday cards and holiday greetings. Follow up occasionally with how their new house is treating them. If you stay at the forefront of their minds, they’ll be sure to refer you when a friend or loved one is on the market for a home.
Services like TIM (Total Internet Marketing) – available through HouseHunt.com – do just that. TIM helps keep a database of all prospects and customer’s personal information so that you can maintain communication accordingly. TIM offers greeting cards that you can personalize for just about every holiday or special occasion. All of these elements build your referral business.
Every aspect of how you spend your marketing dollars is important. Just because one form brings you immediate closings doesn’t mean that the others are ineffective. You may have to discern where exactly each of your customers are coming from, and where money is being wasted. It’s important, however, to calculate all aspects of your advertising strategy and not cut something just because it’s not as effective as something else.
It could take just one customer to change the course of your business forever. You don’t want to miss out on that customer just because a certain field didn’t generate enough immediate turnaround.