New Marketing Strategies for 2016

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New Marketing Strategies for 2016

There’s nothing like the new year to help you turn over a new leaf, purge the systems that haven’t been working, and start testing out some new ways to attract customers to your real estate business. With most agents continuing to use a mix of offline and online methods of filling the business pipeline, we came up with a melting pot of ideas for you to leverage in 2016. Here they are:

#1 Revisit an Old Friend: Your Customer Database

Lost in the shuffle of fancy new applications, software programs, and devices that promise to help you work smarter, better, and faster is an old friend that you’ll want to dust off in 2016: your customer database. Whether it’s housed on your computer or in the cloud (on a service like Zoho, for example), your customer database is ripe with prospective buyers and sellers who may need your services in 2016 (or, who may know of someone who needs your services). “It’s a classic tool, but it’s just as important today as it was 20 years ago when I first got into real estate,” says George Cuevas, president at Chicago-based real estate marketing school Agent Redefined. “If you work it properly, you’ll see a return.”

#2 Ramp up your social media efforts.

In this month’s RE Magazine cover story, Vikram Deol of The Deol Group at Windermere talks about how his firm’s recent social networking efforts are producing business. In one instance, in fact, he says a Facebook follower literally read his posts for years — never making contact or reaching out in any way — until calling on the Deol Group to list his condo last year. This just goes to show how social media serves not only as a “quick hit” communication tool, but also as a long-term lead generation machine. Cuevas advises agents to use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to share their information, photos, and videos with a worldwide audience. “In the online world, your sphere of influence resides on these platforms,” says Deol. “When you put an effort into creating a professional presence on these sites, the payoff can be significant.” If you’re short on time, check out a site like or, both of which are populated with independent contractors who will manage your social media on a regular (daily, weekly) basis.

#3 Polish your generational communication skills.

There are now three official generations of homebuyers in the marketplace: Baby Boomers, Gen x’ers, and Millennials. Knowing how to effectively communicate with each can play a major role in your success in 2016. “Communication is a science,” says Bob Corcoran, CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc., in O’Fallon, IL. Take online leads, for example. Corcoran says these leads must be called within five minutes of receiving the lead, however the millennial generation doesn’t want to talk on the phone — it wants to communicate via text. “When you call them and they don’t answer, don’t leave a voice message,” Corcoran advises. “Instead, hang up and send them a text.” Baby Boomers, on the other hand, don’t want online communication — they want to sit down and speak with you face-to-face. “They start their home search by driving the neighborhood and they also have a much stronger drive for a personal bond with their brokers,” says Corcoran. This is where post cards, signs and magazine ads come into play. In general, brokers also need to remember that 7 percent of communication is verbal, 38 percent is vocal, and 55 percent is visual. Verbal consists of the words you speak, vocal is your pitch, speed, volume, and tone of voice, and visual is your body language. “When we look at communication, it is more than just the words you are saying,” Corcoran says. “Because of this, it’s important to practice how you say things and your body language — both of which represent your image.”

#4 Use offline collateral to drive web traffic.

In ActiveRain’s 4 Ways to Connect Your Online and Offline Real Estate, Nadine Larder highlights some effective ways to piece your online and offline efforts together without having to duplicate your efforts (or, having the two worlds collide). One way to do this is by using business cards, fliers, and mailings to drive web traffic. Rather than just listing your website on your materials, she suggests using compelling calls to action like, “Visit this site to see more listings,” or “Visit my website for a video walkthrough of this great home” on your paper-based marketing collateral. Then, on your website (along with the promised content and a contact number) offer a freebie in return for the visitor’s email address (i.e., a list of free things for families to do in the area or an entry into a giveaway for a local gift card). “Once you have an email address, continue to follow-up with interesting content and outreach via email,” Larder writes. “Use the email marketing to invite the prospect to in-person events that you host, and don’t forget to directly invite them to contact you for a listing presentation or to view available homes in the area.”

#5 Take a bet on beacon technology.

In 10 Real Estate Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2016, Inman News’ Andy Nauman advises agents to use a little “high-tech stalking” to get new customers in 2016. Much like the way consumers receive “messages” on their mobile phones as they approach or walk by specific retail establishments, beacon technology allows professionals to send very relevant messages to their customers in a similar fashion (by detecting a phone and sending a message out via a mobile app). iBeacon, for example, is the name of Apple’s technology standard that allows mobile apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly. “A boosted form of this system hits the phones of buyers driving through neighborhoods and sends them detailed information about available listings on a particular street,” Nauman writes. “Once in a home (say during an open house), the beacon can provide details about newly finished floors, recent upgrades, and more.”

#6 Step up your photographic skills (or, hire help).

With nearly 100 percent of today’s homebuyers turning to the web and/or apps to start culling through properties for sale, yours really needs to look the best in order to stand out in the clutter. An easy way to make that happen is by honing your photography skills or hiring someone who can truly make your listings shine. One need only take a look through the MLS to see that very few brokers subscribe to this theory (the abundance of fisheyes, poorly focused shots, filtered photos, and overly-cluttered homes is proof enough). Make an effort in this area, says Cuevas, and you’ll impress your current clients while also attracting new ones. “The showing now takes place online, and if your listings don’t show well the buyer is going to click over to one the ones that do,” says Cuevas, who cringes when he thinks about the $20 million Chicago listing that featured photos taken on an iPhone. “Anything you put out there online is a direct reflection of yourself and your professionalism, so make it good.”

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