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

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Which trend in 2007 do you think will most affect your business and why?

Everyone's putting out their best guesses for what 2007 will look like. Do you know how the different trends might effect your business?

The (part of Wall Street Journal) says “Home Prices Expected to Rise,Sales to Drop Slightly in 2007”.

In its latest forecast, the NAR said sales of existing homes are likely to decline about 1.2% this year to 6.42 million, following a sharp drop last year, while sales of new homes are seen falling about 9.7% to 957,000.

Which trend do you think will have the most impact on your business?

Will it be:

* Interest rates

* Higher inventories

* Longer Days On Market

* Consumer demands

* Other ____________?

Which will impact you?

Thanks for sharing, next week we'll discuss stumbling blocks to success.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

13 tips for selling your home in winter

  1. We’re in the middle of winter and the buyers are scarce. The good news is the buyers that do come along usually are motivated. But given current market conditions, sellers need to be aware of what they can do to put their home at the top of a buyers wish list. offers some practical, easy to implement tips for sellers to improve the showing of their home. Keep this list handy for the next listing presentation- your sellers will be impressed with these easy tips and thank you.

    Click on any of the tips for more details.

    13 tips for selling your home in winter

    1. Keep snow and ice at bay.
    2. Warm it up.
    3. Take advantage of natural light.
    4. Get the windows washed.
    5. Play music softly in the background.
    6. Make it feel comfortable and cozy.
    7. Emphasize winter positives.
    8. Set up timers.
    9. Make it festive.
    10. Give the home a nice aroma.
    11. Protect your investment.
    12. Use the season to your advantage.
    13. Consider the area.

    Tips provided courtesy of

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is TV advertising possible?

In the last few months I’ve watched as HouseValues has been introducing Agents on TV to a few select markets, wondering how TV could work for agents? Until now television had generally been thought of as too expensive both in air time and production costs for a decent commercial.

The other day in the hall I ran into one of the Agent on TV Account Executives and asked how it was going. She said great and how excited she was to have heard back from one of her first Agent on TV customers. This email she forwarded to me from her client pretty much answers my question.

Hello Debra,

Just wanted to send a quick note and let you how the first couple months have gone with the Agent TV program. Although I was promised 10 commercials per month Our commercial has played an average of 38 times per month driving significant traffic to both my Homepages website and in turn to my personal website. In November my impressions on Homepages jumped 305% compared to September which was prior to the commercial airing.

Those numbers, and having the ability to feature someone's home on REAL TV channels, has been a definite selling point during listing presentations. I have narrowed my presentation down to 8 pages now and the Agent TV and Homepages are two of my key staples. This has already been more than I expected honestly, customers are already saying yes to me after page one! Plus, I am able to charge a premium for my services as I am offering options almost no one else can.

A huge addition (and please don't charge me additional for this!:) is that I have had a homepages account for my area (Rogers, MN) for a year and averaged maybe 1 lead per month, over the last 3 months I would say I've averaged 5-6 new Homepages leads per month, some of which I have already started communications with. This to me is just a bonus as I really signed up for Agent TV for the listing support and market branding. I truly feel at this pace, these leads alone will pay for the product. I'm sure other agents who are signed up for Homepages in my area are also seeing a big increase in leads and are probably wondering what's up!

Bottom line, I'm really happy with the product and a large part of my satisfaction has been working with you. Your responsiveness and dedication to the start up of this product has been really appreciated. Getting me an express DVD copy of my commercial so I could show off my new advertising to other business professionals at a business expo was really awesome and beneficial. Also, assisting me in getting additional advertising items has been extremely helpful.

I just wanted to thank you for all that you've done. This is a great opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves from the competition! Between receiving the leads through and in turn selling them on services like Agent TV and Homepages, HouseValues has been great for my business and will be an integral part of my business plan for years to come.

Thanks for everything Debra.

James Berg, REALTOR®, e-PRO®

Go to to see commercial demos, take a tour, and get other information about Agents on TV.