9 Ways To Beat A Tough Market And Capture New Business

9 creative ways to create new real estate business in a down market

We don’t need to tell you how tough it is out there. You already know. But that doesn’t mean you should take your toys and go home. Now is the time for you, the savvy Realtor, to think outside the box and apply some creativity to your marketing strategy.

Before you even begin thinking about new techniques, make sure you are marketing yourself effectively, mainly online and through social media. We’ve discussed the specifics about your personal web site, as well as the use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools in previous articles. Review your online image and make sure it’s sharp. Then consider these tips that can add that extra “something” to kick your marketing effort into high gear.

  1. Find a niche. Look for specialty sub-markets in your neighborhood. Do you live near a military base? Military members move a lot. Offer free seminars on getting your home ready to sell. Videotape a seminar and post it on YouTube with a link on your personal web site.
  2. If you live in a college town, place ads in the student newspaper, especially between March and July when students (and parents) are looking for next year’s housing. Purchase ad space in new student guides, which may be mailed in advance to students’ homes. Many times parents would rather buy a condo as an investment than pay out rent for four years of college.
  3. Go corporate. If your city has one or more major employers, offer special relocation packages to new employees moving into town. Be sure you add value beyond just the routine phone call and questionnaire. Become an information resource on everything from school districts to pet sitters and hiking trails. You can work through the HR department, as well as through recruiters who are part of the hiring process. Once you establish your reputation with HR people, you can become the Realtor of choice for new hires.
  4. Network, network, network. Raise your profile in the business community. Find out what the power organizations are and join the best one. It might be the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, or Junior League. Once you’ve joined, get active and stay visible. Often their service club or professional organization is the first place people look when they need a referral. Many clubs also have directories or newsletters where members can advertise their services.
  5. Follow FSBOs. Did you know that at least one out of five FSBOs eventually uses a Realtor to sell their home? Watch the newspapers and yard signs for these leads. Craig’s List and similar online forums are other good sources of FSBO listings.
  6. Mine your email list. Email is just about the cheapest and best way to keep in touch with past, present and future clients. To use email effectively, be sure to
    • Have a subscription option on your personal website so people can opt in
    • Honor opt-out requests immediately
    • Always use your own name in the “From” line
    • Send emails on Wednesday or Thursday, when they are most likely to be opened and read
    • Always provide something of value, such as the latest market trends or interest rate updates, rather than just a sales pitch
    • Reward reader response—offer a free property analysis, a tip sheet, entry in a raffle drawing
    • Follow up responses with a phone call
  7. Partner up. Hook up with compatible business people to put on joint events, or cooperative email or direct mail campaigns. A mortgage broker or lender would be an obvious choice, but you might also think about interior designers, home repair contractors, or landscape architects.
  8. Become a subject matter expert. Stay absolutely current on market conditions, trends, interest rates and related topics. Develop one or two good Power Point or video presentations and offer to do a program for your service club, church group or investment club. Become the go-to person for local media who need quotes or background for news stories.
  9. Be fair-minded. Find fairs, shows and other events in your market area where you can rent a booth or an exhibit table. This might include Chamber of Commerce business expos, bridal fairs, or home improvement shows. Have a drawing or offer something free to people who sign up for your email newsletter. Always do an email follow-up within the next week to say thanks, nice to meet you, and re-emphasize your expertise and contact information.

Of course you’ll want to adapt these tips to your particular locale and market demographic. A little creativity and imagination can make a big difference in your bottom line as well as giving you a fresh, fun perspective on your job.

Want to talk to someone about how to fine tune your marketing approach? Check out my services page for our introductory consultation.

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