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Real Estate Marketing 101: The Ultimate Guide for Realtors

Updated: Mar 9



Real estate marketing is a significantly more complex and nuanced subject than people might expect. Anyone who's not familiar with the real estate business likely thinks that marketing a home is as simple as taking a few photos, writing up a description, and posting it online. While that may have been sufficient in the past, in today's world, that won't cut it.


In the age of Zillow and various online home browsing platforms, you need more. On your listings, you need something that will make your property stand out and wow potential buyers. If the lighting is too dim, the decor dated, or there are any other problems, buyers will keep skimming past your client's home and on to the next one.


However, on your website and other marketing materials, most highly successful agents have an incredibly efficient inbound marketing funnel. There will be more discussion of this strategy later, but the gist of it is that the best agents don't have to go searching for clients - they have a steady stream of clients coming to them! Imagine if you had inquiries about properties each day coming to you every day. How many of those could you close? How much would that increase your bottom line?


At Reyfilm, we receive a lot of inquiries from real estate agents all around the Miami area who are looking for ideas on how to do effective real estate marketing. Many of them have heard of virtual tours, video walkthroughs, and other techniques that lead to increased buyer interest.


We thought it would be quite beneficial to put together a short guide - a quick but valuable Real Estate Marketing 101 post - for agents of all levels who are looking to sell homes faster and for more money. If you are an agent looking to maximize your marketing investments and minimize your time taken, read on to learn how you will be able to master the real estate marketing game!



What's In This Post?


  • Real Estate Marketing: Why Don't Outbound Methods Suffice?

  • Contemporary Marketing Revolves Around Inbound Ideas

  • What Tools Are Available In Real Estate Marketing?

  • Real Estate Marketing Ideas For You

  • Build A Real Estate Marketing Plan

  • How To Target Clients Of All Interest Levels

  • Is A Real Estate Marketing Agency Worth The Cost?

  • Will Mastering Inbound Marketing Make Me A Successful Agent?




Real Estate Marketing: Why Don't Outbound Methods Suffice?


In the past, real estate marketing was simple. The very first known real estate advertisement occurred in 1704 when someone ran a newspaper ad looking for a buyer for their property in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York (which, incidentally, is a lovely and quaint little town, even today).


Newspaper ads as a form of real estate marketing continued to be popular until the 1950s when radio and TV took over. New York City continued to be the trailblazer in this field as the ad was for an apartment in Queens. That ad ran in 1922. As you might expect, the combined dominance of radio, TV, and print real estate marketing continued for quite some time.


After these marketing methods, agents tried direct mailers (because who doesn't love unsolicited mail in their mailbox?) and, of course, the ever-loved cold calls. Real estate agents pounded the proverbial pavement, so to speak, going from door-to-door trying to see if anyone on the street, block, or city was interested in buying or selling their home.


Marketers call these "outbound" methods because you, the real estate agent, are the person reaching out to the prospect. The problem is that these real estate marketing methods don't have much success, they're time-consuming, and they frustrate prospective clients. For cold-calling, for example, only 2% of people will ever bother to show an interest in your business. The other 98% won't bother with you or, worse, will have a negative impression of your real estate agency or brokerage.




Contemporary Marketing Revolves Around Inbound Ideas




In contrast to "outbound" marketing methodologies, "inbound" ones revolve around the customer coming to you asking you for your services. For real estate agents, the classic example of this is when a prospective buyer peruses a site like Zillow. They find a home they like and fill out the contact information to speak with an agent.


Other classic inbound marketing tactics include SEO, having a stellar website, creating compelling infographics, having amazing videos, and so on. Any tactic in which prospective clients are coming to you instead of you having to pitch every person is an inbound one.


As you might expect, inbound marketing approaches are significantly more successful. They have a higher ROI, but, perhaps equally importantly, they are very measurable. You can measure precisely how much money you are spending on each inbound method and what its return is. By contrast, you put up a TV ad, and maybe 1,000,000 people see it, or perhaps 100,000 people see it. Then you receive some calls and can't attribute from where those came.


With a method like a video, for example, you can quantify how many people open an email with a video versus without one (spoiler: emails with videos have a 19% higher open rate and a 50% higher click-through rate!). By mastering these inbound methods, you can budget your marketing dollars more efficiently with inbound approaches as opposed to outbound ones!



How To Build The Ultimate Real Estate Inbound Marketing Strategy



What Tools Are Available In Real Estate Marketing?


Given that inbound approaches are so useful for marketing, it's essential to know what the possible strategies for inbound marketing are. That is, what should you, as a real estate agent, need to think about when setting up an efficient, winning inbound marketing strategy.



Website


Most, if not all, inbound marketing strategies revolve around a site. You need one as a real estate agent, so if you don't have one already, now is the time to make one! Your website should feature necessary information about you, some photos, and, preferably, a video introducing yourself. The primary objective of your website should not be to get people to contact you right away, but rather showcase some of the properties you're working on as well as your extensive real estate knowledge. Your website should be about building trust with the reader so that they want to contact you when they want to do a real estate transaction.





CRM Software


The acronym CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. These software packages act as a repository of all the contact information you acquire. They can also track in which stage of the pipeline a prospective client is, and issue reminders. For example, suppose that you receive a new lead from your website. Their information goes into the CRM database. You then call the person and mark them down as interested. The CRM system can remind you to give them a call in three months to see if they're still thinking of buying or selling their home.


Note that most touchpoints originate from a CRM system (emails, calls, text messages, and so on). As such, it is crucial to have a high-quality CRM system explicitly tailored to the unique needs of real estate agents. HubSpot and Wise Agent are two examples of highly ranked CRM systems that have a long history of working well for real estate agents.


Email Marketing Software


Many inbound marketing campaigns originate from emails. As such, you need a way to create eye-catching emails, and you also need a way to manage subscriber lists. There are also many rules around spam, so the platform that you use must have the capability to unsubscribe built into it as well.


Like CRM systems, there are a few of these that are well-known and work for real estate marketing. Constant Contact is probably one of the most well-known ones. It does a phenomenal job of managing lists, creating appealing emails, and, of course, it has an unsubscribe feature as well! Of course, you're free to use any email sender that you want so long as it has the capabilities mentioned earlier.


Social Media Platforms Like Facebook and Twitter


Social media is an incredibly potent way to bolster your inbound approaches. Facebook is a phenomenal lead-generation platform. Whether you pay for Facebook ads or you write stellar content that gets shared a lot, these platforms are the best tools to have a broad reach and receive many leads with minimal effort.





Real Estate Marketing Ideas For You


If you have all of the above tools, then you're ready for some traffic-inducing fun real estate marketing ideas! Getting your website and other software set up is only half the battle - the next step is to employ inbound marketing strategies that work!


Search Engine Optimization


One of the best ways to find your ideal customers is to partake in search engine optimization (or SEO for short). SEO is a practice of optimizing your site to land within the top rankings on Google when prospective clients search for particular keywords (like "real estate agent Miami"). In the past, this tactic would involve keyword stuffing. You'd see strange-looking sentences like "fish tacos Miami, FL stand, offering fish tacos Miami, FL without fish tacos Miami, FL sauce." Of course, this page would have been targeting the phrase "fish tacos Miami, FL."


Now, SEO is much more subtle. It's about creating high-quality content that people want to read. It's about being an authoritative source - a premier destination, if you will, for the keyword that you are targeting. For example, if you're targeting the keyword "sell house Miami," then you should have content organized around this concept and phrase.


Of course, precisely how to implement SEO within your real estate site is beyond the scope of this article. When done well, the result is that people who are interested in "sell house Miami" will wind up on your site and contact you for more information. You won't need to chase after prospective clients. People will simply search for real estate concepts, and they will find your site!


Here's a fun fact! You can use awesome explainer videos to boost your website's rankings on search engines dramatically. Explainer videos are 2-3 minute videos in which you describe your services, the site, and so on. These videos are always prominently placed within the home page.


While Google's algorithms are a mystery at times, it appears as though they do prioritize sites with video over places that don't have it. One hypothesis is that explainer videos improve engagement resulting in a higher time on the website. The average website visit lasts eight seconds. But, if you make a compelling video, people might watch that for 2-3 minutes. Since Google tracks time on a website, it sees 2-3 minutes vs. 8 seconds for the competitor and assumes that the 2-3 minute site has much more compelling, relevant content for the searcher. If you would like a comparatively quick and easy way to boost your site's rankings, consider one of those videos!


Be Active On Social Media


Another fantastic inbound real estate marketing method is to be very active on social media. You should be posting regularly. You should also be answering questions and creating content that people want to read. Another tactic can be to showcase a home that you're trying to sell and provide some details about it.


Much like explainer videos are incredibly valuable for SEO purposes, videos for Facebook are equally useful. People who are on social media are not there looking to buy something. They're on these platforms because they want to see what their friends are doing, or they want to watch cute cat videos. They're not necessarily looking for things to buy right then and there, and, as such, having engaging content, like videos, interests people enough to learn more about you as a real estate agent. Exposure is critical for any business, and real estate is not the exception. These videos can be short and to the point, but they should be memorable. Of course, having these professionally shot makes them more polished and structured, but if a video investment is out of reach, consider doing what you can with what you have. In most cases, something is better than nothing, especially if the content is good. The point is for you not to miss out on potential leads.


Use YouTube


If you ask someone what the world's most significant search engines are, pretty much everyone will name Google. That's true. With 92.7% of all searches worldwide, Google takes the lion's share of the search volume. Some people might say that Bing or Yahoo is the next highest. Technically, that's correct if you think of "search engine" in the purest of senses.


However, if your definition of search engine expands to sites that handle domain-specific searches, then the second-highest search engine isn't Bing - it's another Google-owned site, YouTube! With 30 million users per day and 1.3 billion active users worldwide, you should never ignore YouTube when it comes to marketing!


Fortunately, there are many ideas for real estate agents looking to create YouTube videos. Many times, agents like to create YouTube videos showcasing various areas of the city that they recommend. You might develop a series of YouTube videos showing multiple regions of Miami, for example, and say which areas are the best, how much average homes cost, what style of home is predominant throughout Miami, and so on. Agents also frequently create videos explaining who they are "Realtor Profile Videos," what they do, and why they're the best real estate agent in the area.


Pro tip: you should upload your explainer videos to YouTube and embed those on your home page. That way, you will receive exposure from people who visit your site as well as people who search for relevant keywords on YouTube.


Send Simple, Useful Emails


Email marketing for real estate agents is still an incredibly effective method. The beautiful thing about email marketing is that you don't need to be incredibly fancy. You can send out market updates, new homes that you're selling, or even further information on laws in your state. For example, you might have an email campaign you send out about new restrictions on Airbnbs in your city. You don't need ultra-fancy, high-cost emails. All you need are simple, useful emails that gently remind people of who you are, what you do, and provide them with a way to contact you. Email marketing is not a fantastic time to sell people aggressively. Instead, it's a much better method for showcasing your knowledge and allowing people the ability to ask you further questions.


As mentioned earlier, videos increase open and click-through rates significantly. You cannot embed a video within an email directly (the email client won't recognize it and play it). What most people do is take a screen capture of the video as an image and embed that. Then, when people click on that particular image, they are sent to your website where they can watch the video, or they go to YouTube directly.



Building A Real Estate Marketing Plan



Real estate marketing will be most effective if you plan it out in advance.


Some agents make a mistake when they're starting. They "wing" their marketing. They review their emails and see that it's been a couple of weeks since they sent their last update. So they type something up and hit send. Then, they get busy. Now a couple of months go by. They look at their emails, type one up, and hit send again. Many new agents repeat this cycle over and over again.


The problem with this approach is that there is no consistency. You may bombard people with messages for one week, and then they go months without hearing from you! Meanwhile, during that time, other agents are contacting them and taking away your business. The same goes for Facebook, SEO, and every inbound marketing tactic.


Consistency is key. Without it, you'll wind up struggling to keep prospective clients interested in your services. You need to strike the optimal balance between annoying clients and letting things go on for so long that they forget about you.


There are many theories and approaches to building this plan. Keller Williams has a 36 touch system that they claim works well and allows the "72% of people that want to do business with their [real estate agent]" to do business with them again.


To summarize, the 36 touches that they suggest are:


  • 26 emails per year (one every two weeks)

  • Four calls per year (one every three months)

  • Four promotions per year (one every three months)

  • Two client events each year (one every six months)



In each of these touchpoints, the goal is not to sell aggressively. The goal is to showcase your knowledge. In each of your emails, show the homes you've sold! Show the videos you had made showcasing the neighborhoods where people are looking to buy. These are the types of emails that receive high open and click-through rates.


Of course, whether you want to follow this system or some other system is entirely up to you. Regardless of what your particular plan looks like, you will want to ensure that you have one and that you stick to it!



How To Build A Real Estate Marketing Plan



How To Target Clients Of All Interest Levels



When developing your real estate plan, it's important to target clients in all parts of the traditional sales cycle. This cycle states that approximately 3%-5% of people that will come to your site are ready to contact you and buy or sell a home immediately. They are looking to act quickly.


About 50% of the people that visit will be serious about acting, but won't be ready to act right now. These are the people who see a home they like on Zillow and ask for details. They're thinking of moving within the next year or so.


Then there is the remainder of people who have no clue about your product or service. They saw your ad, thought it looked cool, and just wanted to know what you offer. Maybe they've seen the home down the street, and they're curious about how much it costs. These people are not ready to buy at all.


Many new agents make the mistake of only targeting the 3-5% that are ready to buy or sell immediately. The problem with this limited approach is that it results in an unsteady stream of leads. If your ad just happens, by pure chance, to miss this 3%, you'll get nothing. But, if that group sees your ad, you'll receive an influx of people. What you want is a steady stream of leads. You want to nurture people through your funnel so that when they are ready to buy or sell, they contact you and not one of your competitors!


You can nurture these prospective contacts by creating content that appeals to each one. For example, for the people who are ready to buy or sell, maybe you have a video on what they can expect in the process (explain financing, benefits of staging, how long the home might sit on the market, and so on). In this content, ensure the ability to contact you is readily available. This content has an immediate, tangible benefit to the prospective client.


People that are interested but not yet ready to commit have a separate type of content. This content is informative and engaging. It might be the best neighborhoods in which to buy or the top 10 ranked schools in the region. You're designing this content with the "is now the right time?" question in the back of your mind.


Finally, for people that are not interested in what you offer right now, provide some fun pieces of content that will capture their email address and put them on the list. That piece of content might be PDF on the best parts of the city or something like that. They can take this document and read it. More importantly, you'll get their name on your email list and can send appropriate content afterward. There is no selling with this list. Simply send content, invite to events, and so on. The idea with this list is that you're reminding them every once in a while that you exist. When they do need an agent, you're going to be the first one they call!




Is A Real Estate Marketing Agency Worth The Cost?



Given how complex and time-consuming it can be to manage a co-ordinated inbound marketing effort, many real estate agents wonder if hiring an agency to handle all of this for them is worth the cost.


The answer to that question is not entirely clear cut. Sometimes, if you're busy, having the agency handle all your marketing for you is worth it. It takes one thing off your plate and lets you focus on what you do best - helping clients achieve their real estate dreams!


The problem is that marketing agencies are not cheap! These services are usually at least $2,000 per month and can sometimes be over $10,000. If you're just starting as a real estate agent, you likely cannot afford those prices - especially monthly!


A better approach is usually to handle the logistics of the marketing yourself but outsource the tasks to professionals, so you reap optimal results. You do not need to be an SEO wizard yourself - some dedicated people and companies will happily take a look at your website and make it rank higher. Similarly, when it comes to shooting videos, you will likely want to outsource that to a video production company, so the videos you post are of the highest quality!


When it comes to having a real estate website, again, you don't need a company to keep working on it professionally. There are many organizations of all sizes out there who will build a website for you, complete with IDX integration, for a small monthly fee. You'll need to post new content to your site when you receive new videos, blog posts, etc. However, that also doesn't require a full-service marketing agency.


You will save significantly on costs that way, which helps your bottom line - no matter if you are just starting in the business, or if you are an experienced agent!



Will Mastering Inbound Marketing Make Me A Successful Agent?



Most successful agents these days use inbound marketing incredibly well. It's tough to succeed in the real estate business if you don't have a website, don't have an email list, and just rely on cold calls or other advertising methods. These methods don't provide the same return they once did. As an agent, you will find your best ROI when you adapt to the best practices that other successful agents use!


Of course, merely mastering this technique will not automatically make you a successful agent. You still need to sell homes, negotiate better deals for clients, and help them secure financing. There are still numerous aspects of the job that inbound marketing doesn't solve.


What it does do, though, is ensure you have a steady stream of clients. Each one of these clients is interested in using your services. That, alone, will allow you to become a wildly successful agent, assuming you have a firm understanding of the other aspects of the job!



Video Is An Important Aspect Of Real Estate Marketing


As we have seen from the marketing methods listed above, video significantly enhances most inbound marketing methods. The reason for this is quite elementary: people love to watch videos online. Whether people are watching cat videos or videos of you explaining different parts of your city, videos are always a popular option.



To recap, videos improve real estate marketing in many tangible ways:



  • Including a video within an email improves open rates by 19% and improves click-through rates by 50%.

  • Including a video on YouTube will let you gain access to 1.3 billion viewers worldwide, including 30 million daily users.

  • Adding explainer videos to your home page will make people stay on your site longer, which improves Google SEO rankings. These videos also increase conversion rates by 20%.

  • Videos improve ROI and engagement on all social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.



If you're looking to gain an edge in real estate marketing, get in touch with us at Reyfilm. We frequently use our expertise to construct fantastic marketing videos for real estate agents all over the Miami area. Our professionals will shoot polished videos optimized explicitly for your email campaigns, YouTube spot, and the explainer video on your website!

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