I was just looking at my old Dotloop loops and realized that it has been more than a decade since I earned my Virginia real estate license and began working with my first clients. My best friend and I studied and got our licenses together and worked together for several years before I started Writing Real Estate.
That's where I learned the nuts and bolts of working with clients, relating to colleagues — and it's where I learned the importance of marketing.
In the time since, I've learned a thing or two (or more) about what makes a marketing plan work. I've worked with other writers, coaches, website designers, SEO experts and, of course, masterful marketing and branding strategists to create content for agents, brokerages, startups and corporate clients. I've also worked with a ton of high-producing agents and brokers to nail down their marketing message and brand voice.
I say all of that to say that when I approach the marketing of a property, I've got a lot of advice and insights rolling around in my head. I've seen really successful initiatives and others that went nowhere. More than that, I've seen real estate pros who successfully built and grew their listing-based businesses over time.
When I think about what worked for them, and their clients, and what they had in common, so much comes down to how they marketed their listings. After all, the marketing of a listing is, in a sense, the marketing of an agent or brokerage.
Want to get the attention of your market and help your service stand out? Want to move your buyer-based business to a listing-based business? Want to differentiate your service for a new niche or more upscale client base? Learn from the folks who taught me everything I know.
These are the 10 creative strategies that will get your listing noticed
Build a platform first
Start from a solid base with a well-designed and up-to-date website, consistently nurtured social media channels, and well-thought-out brand collateral including logos, signage, colors and more. Make it your goal to be a force in your market and online from Day One and build a cohesive marketing platform with that in mind. From there, you'll be better able to capture leads and marketing your listings.
Develop your expertise
The people I know who've grown over the last decade are true experts in their markets, in trends, in buyer preferences and feedback, and in marketing strategy. They don't come to me to be sold on a marketing plan. They have a plan in mind and they come to me to help them flesh it out, implement it, and give them the tools to make it work. Whether their focus is on providing ancillary services, analyzing data, or staging and prepping their listings, they are true experts who love learning.
Make your marketing plan a differentiator
You've probably heard this before, but stop making your seller consultations about you. Start making them about how you'll help get that home sold. Lean heavily on your marketing plan and the things you do to market a property step by step. Talk about the professionals you work with and explain why you don't DIY your photos with an iPhone, fly your own drone, or write your own descriptions and brochure copy — because you have a team of marketing experts to do these things for you and for the client.
Work with a professional
That said, seek out and work with professionals for your marketing strategy. It ensures that you're using your time for the things that make you money rather than struggling with tasks that are better outsourced to an expert. I've known clients who were so happy to find me because they were spending "hours and hours" trying to write their property descriptions and still being unhappy with the result. What a waste of their time.
Take listing prep seriously
As a real estate pro, you've got an eagle eye for the details that turn on — and turn off — buyers. You know burned-out lightbulbs, stained siding, dirty sidewalks and stairs, outdated finishes and fixtures, and out-of-control clutter increase days on market and lead to price reductions. Be honest with your sellers and give them a checklist of repair, cleanup, and improvement homework to be completed before you put a sign in the yard.
If they're older or otherwise unable to prep their home appropriately, consider whether bringing in your own handyman for an hour or two might pay dividends at the closing table.
Take copious notes
Details matter, so coming to me or to your photographer with detailed notes can make all the difference in how effective your marketing materials will be. Let me know what selling points are especially popular in your area and which of those features can be found in your new listing. Let your photographer or videographer know what time of day the lighting is best to show off the kitchen or the outdoor spaces. Play the role of producer and guide the marketing plan from the thoughtful details you've captured at the property.
Remember that you're the expert
While most of my clients send the marketing materials to their clients for review, I don't see a lot of requests for changes afterwards. That's because by the time they're looking at a finished description, the listing agent has set expectations with the client about the marketing strategy and the features they'll emphasize. Don't let the client bully you into mentioning the toilet flange they replaced in 2018 or other obscure and meaningless details. Keep control of the marketing strategy and vision.
Have a rollout strategy
Great listing agents don't put up properties piecemeal. They know when they'll have all of the pieces in place and they know what days and times are most effective for reaching buyers and buyer agents in their area. Some want a listing to hit on Friday so it's fresh for that weekend's open house. Others want it to hit on Thursday so there's time to schedule private showings in advance.
Need more ideas? Check out my Ultimate Listing Launch Plan.
Switch up what's not working
Keep an eye on your listings, especially if there's a CTA or time-sensitive information included in the description. In some markets, it makes sense to say when you'll accept offers or to build a sense of urgency. After a few days, however, "This one won't last long" sounds silly at the end of the description. If you're not getting the foot traffic you expected, look at the marketing material and see if there has been a miscalculation or mistake and fix it if necessary.
Use every listing to generate more listings
Each listing offers you the opportunity to reach out to neighbors, buyers who lost out, and members of your sphere of influence so that you can create leverage that leads to even more listings. Never think of a listing as ending at the closing table. Keep the good going with a plan for the next (and the next). Check out Jimmy Burgess's listing leverage advice here.
Every listing is a big opportunity for you and your business. Creating a step-by-step plan to optimize the potential of each listing is the most important thing you can do to supercharge your business and build for the long haul.