Could your real estate marketing strategy use some fresh ideas?
When most people search for real estate marketing ideas they often end up looking at ad strategies, postcard templates, or another new phone script. But, those suggestions won't make you stand out.
So what will? We've gathered 9 real estate marketing ideas that top agents and brokers from across the country are using right now to grow their business.
These are different, outside of the box strategies. They aren't focused on cool tools or leads. Rather each marketing idea highlights ways, you as an agent, can harness your personal passions to transform and grow your real estate business.
It's possible that none of these ideas will be a perfect match for your personal style and market. But, we're certain that they can point you in the right direction.
Give up the farm and let your business go to the dogs.
Joe's Idea: Combine outstanding civic service with his passion for dogs to create a locally-rooted, trusted, and memorable brand.
Key Takeaway: A good real estate brand isn't created by a designer, it's created by passionate, thoughtful service to your community.
Everyone has a hobby, a ritual, or a passion.
For Joe Schutt, owner of Unit Realty Group in Boston, his passions are dogs and gin.
Dog parks aren’t just green spaces for pets, they’re relationship hubs.
When Schutt moved to the South End of Boston and wanted to build his relationship network, his first two stops were the dog park and the neighborhood association.
“Dog people know everything about everything because they hear things from various people,” Joe says. But he doesn’t actively pitch his services. He just pitches in.
Joe leads Tidy-Up Tuesdays. A time that everyone comes together to clean up the dog park. He hands out coffee and group-branded poop bag dispensers with built-in flashlights. “It’s dark when you’re out there trying to pick up after your dog in the winter.’’
And at no point does Joe ever yell out, “Does anyone here know anyone looking to buy or sell a home?” Because it’s not about ‘owning a territory’ or ‘dominating a farm.’
“This is how you become very good friends with a lot of people and build relationships that happens to turn into business,” Joe told us. “I've made some great friendships.”
“I'm not going to sit there and be like, ‘Oh, I need to build a relationship with that person so I can get to this person so I can get what I want.’ No. If you want to build a relationship with them, then build a relationship with them without an end goal of getting something out of it.”
By focusing on dogs and the people who love them, Joe builds an authentic community, while branding his business in a focused geographic area.
As for the gin? He’s got a drink named after him at one of his favorite restaurants, where he invites people to join him through his Facebook page.
Skip the power hour, just focus for 20 minutes.
Sam's Idea: Devote 20 minutes every day to being present and focusing on your sphere of influence
Key Takeaway: 20 minutes may not sound like much, but establishing a daily practice of focusing on the people who matter most to you will help ensure you keep your business focused on your most valuable asset: your relationships.
Sam Debianchi may be a star on Fox Business and Million Dollar Listing but her business, DeBianchi Real Estate, one of the top Florida real estate firms, wasn't built on media coverage (though that doesn't hurt). Sam built and continues to grow a thriving brokerage and rental business by building authentic relationships in her community.
Like every successful agent, Sam knows a lot of people. And while real estate agents (successful ones anyway) are already some of the busiest people on the planet – Sam is probably busier.
In addition to running a hugely successful brokerage, she's making TV appearances, growing a successful AirBnB rental business, and turning that business into a thriving video blog on YouTube.
So, how does Sam stay in touch with the people in her sphere?
According to Sam, she sets aside 20 minutes every day to "be present" and think about who her sphere is and why they are important to her. "Whether it's family, friends, clients, past clients," she says, "I think about, how do I reach out to them, see how they're doing, check in with them, see what they need."
Spending time intentionally focusing on those people helps Sam think about the things that make them unique and what they have in common.
So, when she's out and comes across a cute dog outfit, she immediately thinks of her client who is "obsessed with little dog clothes", she texts them a picture and lets them know she's thinking of them.
Sam's daily practice of setting aside 20 minutes for thinking about the relationships in her life helps her stay focused on what matters most in her business: her people.
This is probably the easiest idea to execute on our list. But it may also be the most powerful.
Most agents know they need to stay in touch and get in flow with the people in their network. But, the more successful you are as a real estate agent, the harder it becomes to stay in flow.
Cultivating a deliberate practice of focusing on your relationships can help ensure you don't lose touch with the people who will help your business thrive.
Use your special knowledge to find your niche.
Billy's Idea: Don't be afraid of letting the uncommon parts of who you are define your brand and your community.
Key Takeaway: You need to bring what sets you apart into who you are as an agent. People care about more about who you are than what you are.
What if you don’t have a talent, or a passion or much of a network?
Billy Ekofo, Vice President at Leading RE, helped one agent figure out her niche.
Bobbi Desai is the mother of a child with special needs but didn’t want that to define her brand. Billy disagreed. It should define her. Because it’s who she is.
"You need to bring that into who you are as an agent," he told her. "Because this is why you do what you do. You care about causes. You give your time, your energy to that, you know? If you had a client that's looking to buy a home, would you do the same thing for them?"
And so now she's Special Agent Bobbi. She is able to use her authentic self as a differentiator, serving families with special needs and giving them the same dedication she gives her child.
Not every business needs to be built around hobbies and not every passion is frivolous.
By focusing on the knowledge and experiences that define you, you can find and build the community that needs you and prefers to work with you.
Don't worry about your niche becoming small or unusual.
Write your next email with a pen.
Larry's Idea: Write two personal notes every day.
Key Takeaway: Writing personal notes by hand may seem odd and inconsequential, but it might be the most powerful thing you can do to grow your business.
Our email inboxes, once the subject of romantic comedies, are now more likely to evoke drudgery than passion.
But everyone still loves to get a handwritten note.
Which is why this strategy may be the most powerful on the list: write two handwritten notes every weekday for the next 6 months.
Larry Kendall tells a story in Ninja Selling about a grateful Ninja Selling alum from Calgary, Canada who laughed at first when asked what aspect of the Ninja selling training had helped him the most.
Then he told him: "'It was the thing I thought during class that was the most silly – those crazy little personal notes. I already used text and email, but I decided to try the notes. Those crazy little notes have transformed our business!'"
If you want to give it a try but aren't sure where to get started, Larry recommends 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.
Turn a celebratory cocktail into a calling card.
Katie's idea: Make giving back to your community part of your business development strategy.
Key Takeaway: Giving back can be fun, good for your business, and helpful for the communities you serve.
Katie Clancy, Team Lead with The Cape House team, makes a point of investing in her community.
"You need to go where your people are" she says. "So the people that you want to work with, you need to go be involved in their organization. Whether that's the land trust or the PTO or whatever it is. You need to be there."
Katie calls this "civic marketing." And it's not just about giving your time, you need to be willing to invest financially too.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it.
“I used to celebrate after each closing at this one wine bar with my team. We would have a drink after each closing.” It became such a regular event, the wine bar named the drink after them, The Cape House Martini.
“I made it cooler,” Katie shared, “because every time you order one and you post it online, I give five dollars to the Dennis Conservation Trust.”
Not only is a martini named for your real estate business more memorable than a business card – it tastes much better.
Go crazy if you get the chance.
Piper's Idea: Don't turn down an opportunity just because it seems crazy.
Key Takeaway: Your best opportunity may be the one you know nothing about – yet.
Sometimes you make a great plan, follow through, and accomplish great things. Other times something crazy happens, you follow up on it, and still manage to accomplish great things. Either way, you're doing great.
Piper Moretti, founder/owner of the Crypto Realty Group, is famous as the go-to agent for home buyers looking to buy with crypto-currency. But, that wasn't her plan.
Piper was showing homes to a client in Manhattan Beach when, after viewing 2 or 3 homes that day, he told her he was going to buy his home with Bitcoin.
Piper could have freaked out. She could have gotten upset. Instead, she got knowledgeable, really, really fast.
"I had no idea what I was doing," she says. "I just did as much research as I could possibly find. There was another one that was done up in Tahoe a couple years back before it was really even what it was at that time – when he found me it was $750 per bitcoin, relatively cheap in today's standards. I thought it was a lot, you know? But there wasn't a lot of information.
"I just dug deep," says Piper. I found a payment processor. We found an escrow company that would cut a deal with it. We did the payment outside but everything else they took care of. And we just made it work. We just bootstrapped it. It was kind of crazy."
Soon one crypto-financed transaction turned into four and Piper realized she was onto something.
But she still had work to do.
For Piper, keeping in touch and connecting with the crypto/blockchain community was essential to transforming a crazy transaction into a profitable, headline-making niche.
"I started, just, grassroots," Piper says. "I had no idea where to start, and so I found meetups in my area that were blockchain-based. I went and I just talked to people and I thought, 'Oh my god, I'm not a techy. I don't know what I'm doing.' But once I told these people that were in this space what I've done, their eyes got big and they were like, 'Oh my god. I didn't know you could buy houses with this.' You know, because they were just people who were holding these coins and not really sure what to do with them."
In some ways, Piper didn't just find her niche, she created it. She connected with a community of people who were holding this crazy asset that they weren't sure how to handle and showed them how to invest in real estate. She opened doors for them.
And it all started with one crazy request.
Skip the pie and get on a roll.
Therese's Idea: Transform a traditional real estate marketing tactic into a personal branding success.
Key Takeaway: Putting a personal spin on an otherwise pedestrian marketing strategy can change the game for your brand.
When Therese Antonelli, broker/owner of Moving The Mitten Real Estate Group, got into real estate in 2011, she noticed it was common for agents in the area to send out pumpkin pies around Thanksgiving.
Holiday pies are a real estate marketing classic.
But, Therese didn't bake pumpkin pies, she preferred pumpkin rolls.
So, instead of going with the crowd, Therese decided to put her own personal spin on the holiday tradition.
Her first year in business, Therese baked, wrapped, and hand-delivered her pumpkin rolls.
"Those people who used me as an agent in 2011," Therese says, "to this day still get a hand baked, hand delivered (not by myself, I have drivers now) pumpkin roll to their door. And what I found is it's all just residual. I have these clients, every year they're posting on Facebook, they're tagging me. Their fiends are then thinking, "Well, I want a pumpkin roll. My agent doesn't do that. I better use her the next time I sell."
Join the 4H club.
Sean's Idea: Create a simple, efficient system for staying in touch with your network.
Key Takeaway: Cultivating a valuable personal network is like nurturing a garden: you are putting seeds in the ground and watering every day. The harvest will come. Successful people have patience.
Sean Carpenter, CEO/founder of Sean Speaks LLC, has been in real estate since 1998. Since then he's become one of the top 100 most influential people in real estate according to Inman News and one of the top 20 most influential people in social media for the real estate industry according to Swanepoel.
So, when Sean share's a system for growing a healthy real estate business, it's worth listening.
Sean calls his system for staying in touch the 4H club:
"Every day when I come into the office, I do my 4H club. First H is I write five handwritten notes. The second H is a hot sheet. I run the hot sheet for my market, see what new listings have come on the market. The third H is happy birthdays. I roll through my Facebook and I wish people happy birthday. And if they're someone I know, they're going get a video text from me.
"Then the last H is my high-fives. I do five likes on Facebook, I do five comments on Facebook, I do five retweets or comments on Twitter, I do five likes on Instagram, and I send five random texts."
That's 40 people he’s connected with before nine o'clock in the morning. Not a bad start to the day.
Don't just host events, throw the best parties in town.
Tiffany's Idea: Host memorable events that the whole community wants to attend.
Key Takeaway: Not every great idea is free. This strategy requires a large investment of time and money. But the payoff is worth it.
Client appreciation events are nothing special in the real estate marketing world. Everybody knows they can be a great way to stay in touch and generate referrals.
But, there are events, and then there are events.
Tiffany McQuaid, Broker/Owner at McQuaid & Company in Naples, FL does not throw average events.
"We do events like the Stone Crab Festival," she says, "which is a big two-day event. We put ten to twelve thousand people through over those two days. And, of course, we're the only real estate office positioned there. We also do a big event called Taste of Collier, which we took over five years ago and it is currently a 35-year event within our area."
Tiffany's ability to put together events, not just for past clients, but for the whole community in and around Naples has been a huge part of her brokerage's hugely successful growth strategy.
"It's been kind of a big coup for us," Tiffany says. "It's a lot of work to put together, don't get me wrong, but it has the capability and the ability for us to convert it into business and just general branding – it's been phenomenal."