How To Build A Real Estate Marketing Plan
In one of our other blog posts, we discussed real estate marketing 101, which was a comprehensive list of ideas, tips, and tricks for real estate agents doing marketing in this age. One of the critical points that we talked about in that post was the importance of having a real estate marketing plan. All too often, agents dedicate significant time and resources to marketing but don't develop a plan. What this tends to lead to is unevenly distributed marketing efforts. They might dump $500 into Facebook ads, then dump $200 into AdWords, and so on, chasing method after method. They might send one email one month and four the next. To avoid this, agents must know how to build a real estate marketing plan!
Whether you are a new real estate agent, or you have been in business for many years and would like to step up your marketing game, here's how to build a real estate marketing plan that will enable you to gain valuable clients.
What Is A Marketing Plan And Why Do I Need One?
When exploring real estate marketing plans, it's essential to look at some of the terminologies. HubSpot has a fantastic breakdown of marketing plans and what they generally mean for businesses. In particular, they define two terms:
Marketing Strategy: Using a channel to achieve a goal. For example, one marketing strategy might be using Google AdWords to find new clients. Or, it might be creating a series of videos showcasing various neighborhoods and the types of houses in those neighborhoods. You'd then upload those to YouTube to receive views and leads from those knowledge videos.
Marketing Plan: A collection of one or more marketing strategies that tie into a higher goal. These also include sequencing, costs, and projections. Your goal might be to gain ten new clients with strategies of YouTube, Facebook Ads, and Google Ads.
For real estate agents, marketing plans needn't always be solely about gaining some number of leads. Sometimes it's about breaking into new markets or trying to sell more upscale properties. If you can become an agent with a $1,000,000 listing, it will be more profitable than being the agent of five $100,000 homes. Though these examples were about finding new clients, there's nothing wrong with crafting a plan to break into upscale markets.
Real estate agents need a content marketing plan for a couple of reasons. The primary one is that most marketing strategies are related, especially in the world of real estate! For example, you might invest in a professionally-done YouTube video introducing yourself. That's great! Except it shouldn't just go on YouTube. It would be best if you put it on your web site too. You'll probably want to include it on Facebook and Twitter as well. Oh, and if you have an Instagram, it should go there. Without a comprehensive plan, it's hard to determine how all these strategies relate to each other.
The other reason for building a plan is to layout costs, projections, and other metrics you want to track. Ideally, your real estate marketing plan would have some dollar value associated with it and some expected outcomes. Let's say you'll invest $10,000 in marketing efforts. Maybe $1,000 will go to videos, $2,000 to AdWords, $1,000 to emails, and so on. After that, your goal is to achieve 100 visits to your site, ten new leads, and have five closings. Of course, your goals will be different, but having a plan lets you clearly define your goals.
How To Build A Real Estate Marketing Plan: Step By Step!
Building a real estate marketing plan is invaluable. It helps ensure you spend your marketing dollars wisely as well as ensuring that all your marketing strategies remain interconnected.
Fortunately, the steps for how to build a real estate marketing plan are relatively straightforward. Since it's often best to learn by example, let's explore the steps with a fictitious real estate character, Jane.
Step #1: Define Your Goal
First, you need to identify your goals. What is your objective with your marketing? People familiar with business jargon will call these goals "KPIs" or "Key Performance Indicators." In essence, what outcome would you like to see? Would you like to see more website visits, leads, or closings? Would you like to find clients with higher value homes, thereby increasing your commission per property?
Of course, many real estate agents will read that list and answer yes to everything! However, that's not realistic. Pick a couple of metrics on which you need to focus. These are frequently weak spots of the business.
For Jane, her main goal is to have more recurring clients. She's great at selling people their starter home, but then a few years later, when they want to buy the higher-priced homes, they don't call her up again. Instead, they seem to go off and find another agent. Therefore, her marketing strategy involves two primary metrics: increase the number of repeat clients and boost her average commission per home (since these repeat clients might be buying their second or third property!).
Let's say Jane wants to have ten repeat clients this year and boost her commission on those clients by at least 10%.
Step #2: Identify The Types People Whom You're Trying To Reach
Once you have some basic metrics in place, the next step of your plan is to figure out the types of people you want to target and develop "personas" for each one of them. These don't have to be incredibly detailed. You merely need enough information to make a general statement about them.
Personas start with the phrase "I am." For example, the persona of a new homebuyer might be, "I am a recent college graduate who is looking to buy my first condo." Developing these personas will enable you to think like them and build marketing strategies that you believe will reach their desires.
In Jane's case, she might have a couple of personas. The first persona might say, "I am a young professional who's, a few years out of college, wants to upgrade their condo for something much nicer." The second persona might be, "I am a family person who needs a bigger home or condo now that I have kids."
Therefore, Jane can focus her marketing strategies around the young professional that now has a bit more money, and the person who has a growing family and needs more space. Both will have complex needs and wants!
Step #3: Formulate Your Content Strategies
After you've defined your goals and the type of people you would like to target, your next step is to evaluate your content strategies. How will you reach these people?
This question is often much more nuanced than it first appears. You might think something like "Facebook Ads," however, that begs the question of what type of ads? Are you going to have videos with those ads (you should consider doing so since it has the highest ROI), or are you going to have images only? Where will these ads go? Are you going to have a custom landing page for them? Either way, you'll need to plan for and budget for content creation, video production, and so on.
In this section, consider the frequency as well, with which you will be posting to these channels. Are you looking at a post a month or a week? Typically, introducing fresh content every week or two is a balanced approach. You don't want to be posting or emailing something new daily since that might be overwhelming. On the other hand, you most certainly don't want to go three months without people knowing you even exist! Staying relevant and top of mind is critical, especially as a realtor.
Continuing with the example of Jane, she wants repeat customers. So for her, her main thing will be Facebook, email, and text message marketing. Her strategy involves regular market updates, encouraging people that now is a great time to buy ("interest rates are low, so now's the time to upgrade") and sell ("property prices are at an all-time high, so now's the time to get out of your old place").
To do this, she's going to have one video professionally recorded every week, along with a corresponding blog post summarizing the market and showcasing a few beautiful homes. Recall the two personas, the young professional and the family person. In her videos, she's going to talk about unique condos with excellent nightlife to cater to the young professional, and she's also going to highlight homes with lots of space for the family person.
Once she records these bi-weekly videos, they'll go on YouTube. Her second marketing strategy will be to create a blog post summarizing the video that includes links to the properties and has a contact form on it. She'll have a third marketing strategy of sending out an email update to pre-existing clients, embedding that video within, including a summary, and linking to the blog post. Finally, she'll have a fourth and fifth strategy of posting that same summary to Facebook and Twitter as regular posts, but she'll boost them with paid ads.
Step #4: Construct Your Plan
Now that we have the goals, the personas, and the strategies, we can begin to form a cohesive plan.
At this stage, figure out your marketing budget and timelines. Start looking at your calendar and picking dates when content will go out. If you're using paid ads, think about how much money you'll allocate to them each month, how much you desire to pay per click, and so on. Use your best judgment with these numbers, but put something down. Make your plan as detailed as possible.
Many people at this step also wonder how far out their plans should go. Typically, the goal would be to plan for at least a few months to a year. You should have an initial idea of what you will do for the following year, but you needn't say "on March 15th, six months from now, I will send out this post." But, you should say something like, "I will spend $100 on AdWords for March and send out two emails, one in the middle of the month and one at the end." Each of your plan items should be actionable and followable by people other than yourself (in case you want others to manage your marketing for you in the future).
Coming back to Jane, let's say she has a budget of $5,000. Recall that her goals are to increase the number of repeat clients and increase her commissions off those clients compared with new ones. If she wants to send out an email once every two weeks, she'll need 26 videos. Since they're short, maybe she can do them for $100 per video. She'll also need a blog post and email written. Let's say that's $30. So she'll pay 26 * $130 = $3,380 for the content itself. That leaves $1,620 for boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter.
She figures that Wednesday is the best day to send this update. She'll record the market update the Wednesday before and hire someone to write the blog post and email over the weekend. Then she'll use a social media marketing platform to post to Facebook, Twitter, and send the email all at the same time the next Wednesday.
Step #5: Monitor
As you work through your real estate marketing plan, keep monitoring it, and be willing to adjust it. Track your KPIs closely. Your plan should also include how to do this (Google Analytics, email clickthrough rates, contact form submissions, and so on). Revisit your marketing plan and see if you're on track to accomplishing your goals. If not, then you might need to tweak your existing plan to give you the results you want.
How To Build A Real Estate Marketing Plan: It's Reasonably Straightforward!
The five steps above are the most reliable method for "how to build a real estate marketing plan." Define your goals and metrics. Next, define who you're targeting. Think about and plan your marketing strategies. Combine those strategies into a properly structured document, complete with dollars and dates. Finally, include ways to monitor your KPIs.
Building a real estate marketing plan is quite a bit of work, but in the end, you will a cohesive marketing strategy that will allow you to compete in the highly competitive real estate market.