Your Marketing Plan
To prevent wasting money, time, and effort, begin with a clear plan of how you intend to generate business.
Your plan does not need to be elaborate but you do need to asses general market trends, look at what your competitors are doing, know who your target market is, determine you unique value proposition, and know what initiatives you will pursue to reach your intended marketplace. Finally, you will want to make a schedule to keep yourself on track.
Components of Your Marketing Plan
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You need to look at your business and how it relates to the marketplace overall. Your SWOT analysis will help you identify where you can take advantage of opportunities and mitigate potential areas of concern. Keep in mind that many industries were changed and threatened by companies outside their industry (for example, Google replacing the Yellow Pages). Don’t be afraid to take a widespread look during your analysis.
Your clients have a choice of who they will use to help them through the real estate buying and selling process. You need to know what your competitors are offering to your prospective clients. What fees do they charge? What services do they offer? What marketing activities do they do? Who do you need to keep an eye on the most?
Your marketing budget will not be large enough to target every homeowner in the city. Spreading your resources too thin limits your exposure and dilutes the impact you have on the people who can most benefit from your services. You must choose a specific target market and focus your efforts.
Many people believe that marketing to a specific audience will limit the opportunities they have by pigeonholing them into a specific niche. You do not need to turn down business from people who are not in your target market, but trying to market yourself to everyone with limited resources is the quickest way to get lost in the shuffle.
Keep in mind that the people you already know can be one of your target markets. Other target markets include specific locations, demographics, people in specific stages of life, people with specific interests, and many more (including combinations of several criteria).
What makes you different from your competitors (othr Realtors?)? What do you offer that nobody else does? What specific need do you satisfy that nobody else is addressing? How do you operate differently? Why should someone choose you over your competitor?
Your competitive advantage does not need to be earth shattering. You may market to a specific target market that has been forgotten about by other Realtors. You may also offer a unique combination of services that no one else offers.
When presenting your competitive advantage, remember the importance of proper branding. Branded services and systems with compelling names can be an instant competitive advantage for your business.
This is where the rubber meets the road. What are you going to do to promote your services? What campaigns will you run? What marketing tools will you use? Be specific.
Knowing what your real estate marketing plan will cost to implement is a critical step to determine your implementation schedule. Real estate marketing is not cheap. Research the components of your plan to determine when you will be positioned to begin investing in each specific marketing concept.
Realtors often make the mistake of starting their marketing initiatives before they have the capital necessary to sustain the program long enough to see results. Some marketing campaigns can be implemented immediately and will be low-cost, but some will need to wait until you are generating regular revenue in your business to sustain them.
Map your marketing initiatives out for an entire year. At any given point in time, you need to be very clear on what stage of your plan you are at. A marketing calendar eliminates any guesswork and allows you to stay focused on implementation. It will also set up your tracking programs by giving you a clear picture of what initiatives are active at any given point in time.
-Written by Lindsey Smith, CIR REALTY – Manager of Operations and Realtor Development
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