Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Top 11 Marketing Budget Wastes—and How to Avoid Them

Part 1 of a 4 part series

Hopefully by now you have put together a
business plan that you are in the process of implementing. Marketing is usually a major item in the plan being that most of us need to keep generating new business. It’s also a category that is easy to overspend and waste money in.

Take this opportunity to re-evaluate what you have been doing and how you have been investing your marketing dollars to build your real estate business. Below are a few suggestion on how to do more with less.

To help you get started, here are some common marketing budget drainers to avoid.

Marketing Waste No. 1: Customers dictating were to spend to market their house

I hear agents saying “my customers expect me to advertise in the newspaper/magazines if I’m going to get the listing”. This is nonsense. Position yourself as the marketing expert, showing your client
comparison charts of where consumers are going for home buying information (hint, not the newspaper since 70 percent of consumers start the buying and selling process on the Internet.] Demonstrate why your marketing plan is more powerful and back it up with proven results, like fewer days on market than the local average or higher percentage of asking price than market average.

AgentCEO’s are showing clients innovative and effective marketing strategies like where, once a listing is entered by the agent, it automatically starts showing up on google, oogle and other search engines.

Marketing Waste No. 2: Trying to generate only ‘qualified’ leads

Regardless of what type of marketing you use and the type of leads generated, they all have value. Attempting to reach the ready, willing and able buyer at the moment they are ready to take action is not only costly but puts you on par with every other agent trying to reach this tiny market. Move upstream. Plan marketing that reaches consumers in the thinking about moving stage. This can be accomplished by advertising information offers like “BEWARE FIRST TIME BUYER’S” guide with new home buying tips. Or, “FREE HOME EVALUATION” to attract seller inquiries.

Develop as large a pipeline of prospects as possible then follow No. 3.

Marketing Waste No. 3: Failing to follow up on leads

Invest in lead-development software commonly referred to as CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
HouseValues customers use a product called Market Leader to manage a pipeline of leads ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands. Market Leader features automatic email drip campaigns, ePostCards, text messaging lead notification and links from their websites to capture prospects and dump the data directly into Market Leader.
Other online and software packages can accomplish similar marketing tasks. Having automatic follow up software enables you to treat all leads the same in your pipeline with little additional effort.
Many AgentCEO’s don’t just rely on email communication to follow up. Occasional phone calls, direct mailings, even ‘drop-by’s’, keep you as the agent of choice when the prospect is ready to take the next step to move.
To be continued tomorrow...
Look for Part 2, details on Marketing Waste No. 4: Killing the conversation &
Marketing Waste No. 5: Overemphasizing new leads