If you’re willing to invest some time and effort, you can launch powerful marketing strategies with little to no money. Here are five examples:
1. Ramp up the referrals - When it comes to referrals, two of the greatest sources are “influencers” (people who are outspoken and influential) and “aggregators” (accountants and other professionals who serve groups of small-business clients). Search out a few of each and propose an exchange: in return for any referrals, offer to provide those prospects with pricing discounts, free add-on services and/or other special advantages that make the person doing the referring look like a hero.
2. Become a committee member – Spend some time serving on a committee, and the personal relationships you develop will reap professional rewards now, and for years to come. Look for volunteer opportunities with industry associations, community organizations, alumni groups and local chambers of commerce.
3. Get Listed – Everyone knows Google (by far the most popular “search engine”). But what most small businesses don’t realize is they can achieve a top sub-ranking on the service just by creating a Google Maps listing. Plus, as the Google Maps site says (maps.google.com) “It’s easy, free, and you don’t even need a Web site of your own.” The major search engines, online yellow page directories (www.SuperPages.com), as well as many newspapers, allow you to list your Web site for free. The more online listings for your site, the easier it will be for prospective clients to find.
Let the Facts Speak for Themselves
No one would be surprised to hear that the airline industry is responsible for a lot of lost luggage. But what if we told you a whopping 31 million bags were misplaced by the airlines. Not only are these statistics true, they’re also examples of how facts and figures can put things into perspective for your audience in ways that clever writing and catchy slogans never could. But knowing how to use statistics is key. Here are six suggestions:
- Use Real Numbers – Statements like, “most people lose all the weight they want in a matter of weeks,” are too general and don’t pack the same punch as facts and numbers.
- Simple Math Makes for a Better Argument- Simple statistics, like “two out of three” or “three out of four” are easy enough to comprehend. But most people won’t know what to make of statements like “11 out of 15.”
- Find a Reputable Source – Consumers today are a suspicious bunch. If you want them to believe what you have to say, only use trusted sources (like the U.S. Statistical Abstract), and always include references to the sources (i.e. “according to U.S. Census figures.”).
- Get Permission Before Borrowing Too Much- Under copyright law, you’re generally safe using facts and small amounts of verbatim text from published materials without asking the source for permission. But if you plan to use more than a few sentences, ask for the original writer’s blessing beforehand.
Most small businesses have a niche they like to target with their marketing (a particular neighborhood, an age group, people from a specific socio-demographic, etc.). But there’s one niche that just about every business can benefit from: new-movers.
“New-movers” are households that have been living at their current address for 12 months or less. And boy are they eager to develop relationships with the service providers in their new neighborhood. Think about it: These are folks who need to find a new bank, a new gym, a new gardening service, a new tanning salon, new service providers for their pets, new doctors and so much more.
Congratulations, you made the sale! Now it’s time for some follow-up marketing.
Say what? Why bother a buyer after they’ve made a purchase? Well, because ….
- Finding and acquiring a new customer costs about five to seven times more than simply maintaining a profitable relationship with a current customer.
- Recent buyers are interested in accessories, upgrades and related products / services.
- Satisfied buyers are excellent sources of referrals.
- Satisfied buyers make great success stories.
- Being proactive with tips and advice can cut down on customer-service calls.
A five-step process
Everyone knows making the sale is key. The problem is, most small- and mid-sized businesses focus so much on making those initial sales that they miss out on the post-sale growth and income opportunities.
Don’t let new customers languish. Use this five-phase follow-up marketing plan to turn them into long-term sources of revenue, referrals and more:
The debate about which is better, brand marketing or straight selling, has raged in the marketing community for decades. The two camps have fundamentally differing views on the topic, and have even developed names to distinguish themselves.
On one side of the argument are the “rationalists,” or those who believe the best way to sell a product or service is to give consumers the straight facts – plus a good discount every once in a while. On the other side are the “emotionalists,” or those who feel you need to develop an emotional bond with the consumer before they’ll pay attention to your products, services (or advertising).
Which group has it right? The truth is, the most effective marketers are those who have found creative ways to combine the best aspects of both approaches.
One of the best real estate marketing ideas is to use promotional products, such as pens, notepads and other items, branded with your company logo, yet many companies overlook the benefit of such products. Branded promotional products keep your logo and company in the mind of everyone who uses those items, as well as the people around them who see the products being used.
According to the latest survey from the Promotional Products Association International, 88 percent of people who received a promotional product during the past year remembered the advertiser imprinted on those items. In addition, the survey found that 53 percent use a promotional item at least once a week or more often. With such a large percentage of people remembering your company because of a free pen or coffee mug, it is easy to see why promotional products are one of the best real estate marketing ideas.
The final step in your real estate marketing plan is to measure how your campaigns and strategies performed. While there is no one exact way to measure the success of real estate marketing strategies, several methods can indicate whether the campaign was a success.
Review Original Goals
Remember, the first step in evaluating the effectiveness of any real estate marketing plan is to review the original goals. If the goal was to increase lead-to-client ratio, check to see if the leads generated from advertising were greater than in previous campaigns. If the goal was to increase sales, check sales figures from previous periods against the period of the real estate marketing campaign to see if sales increased.
Once you have determined the budget, set goals, identified the target audience and defined the message for your real estate marketing plan, it is critical to choose the right advertising channels for your campaigns. The message may be perfectly crafted, but unless the correct distribution channels are used, the message runs the risk of not reaching the intended audience.
Choosing the Right Channels
There are many real estate marketing channels, including social media, direct mail and email, and it may be difficult to decide which channel best fits your real estate marketing plan. In reality, the budget and your target market should determine the channels that will give your agency the best return on investment. Although many agencies consider social media as “free” marketing, this channel is one that must be handled properly in order to generate the desired results (leads and sales). Review all options for real estate marketing and build a plan of action that works based on your budget and how your target market shops.
Did you know that you can create a custom Facebook page designed specifically for real estate agents? Follow these basic instructions for creating a Facebook page that will be an important real estate marketing tool for your agency.
Create a Basic Real Estate Page
To begin using Facebook as part of your real estate marketing plan, if you already have a personal Facebook page, login to the site as you normally would. Scroll down below the Ticker on the right side of the page. Click on the word More which is just above the Chat window. Highlight “Create a Page,” and a new page opens. Choose “Local Business or Place” and select Real Estate with the drop down arrow at the top of the page, then enter all the other information, agree to the Terms of Service and click “Get Started.” Follow the steps to upload a profile picture and then provide some basic information about your agency. You can also include links to your other social media outlets as well. Choose “Yes” for the last question. You can also customize your Facebook web address to make it easier to find on the site. This will take you to the Admin Page where you can customize your settings. Once the page is created, you can add a custom header, also known as the Cover Photo for your regular Facebook page. Simply click on the “Add a Cover” button and upload the graphic you want to use.
After you determine your audience, the next step in creating a real estate marketing plan is defining the messages of your marketing campaigns. Now that you have identified the target market(s), defining the message becomes easier as you will have an idea of what appeals to the desired demographics and what messages will make your target audience more likely to respond.