Before you spend a dime on advertising your real estate business, you must absorb and incorporate one vital, foundational principle:
Advertising is an investment, not an expense.
If you like, you can add an additional descriptive word, such as “strategic” or “responsible” or “wise” to the description of this principle, but at the end of the day, you must incorporate this principal into your marketing and advertising planning in order to succeed. If you failed to look at your marketing from this perspective last year, then change your point of view for 2018. Doing so will be more important than ever as the range of options in advertising are constantly expanding both on- and offline.
Use these three guidelines to help you make decisions about your advertising decisions:
Guideline #1 Define Your Goals
Every marketing campaign should have a clear goal. That goal must be measurable and detailed so that you know at the end of the campaign if it was a success or failure. Furthermore, you should be able to tell any potential advertising venue exactly what your goal is before you buy so that they can help you determine if they will be able to help meet your needs. An ethical ad salesperson will always acknowledge if they are not a good fit for you, but they cannot do so if you cannot state your goals clearly and concisely.
Here are a few examples of a good, measurable, clear goal for an advertising campaign:
- Revenue growth
- Improved customer quality
- Higher volumes of leads and/or conversions
For each of these examples, you should pick a specific, measurable metric. To determine quality, for example, you may consider how many of your captured leads are truly candidates for your product or service. When your campaigns are complete you have a clear indicator to compare and determine which generated better leads.
Real Estate Investor Pitfall: Too Many Goals, Not Enough Marketing
Real estate investors are particularly prone to trying to squeeze multiple goals into one marketing campaign. If the goals all fit, that’s great! However, if your goals are not related to each other, then you may end up with a very confusing campaign. A confused audience does not respond, so keep it simple.
Guideline #2 Clearly Identify Your Target Market
Knowing your target audience is a vital step in deciding what platforms to use to reach that audience. This information will also help determine the type of campaign you run and how you set your campaign goals. In order to effectively reach your target audience, you need to know where to find them. Think about it: If you want to reach homeowners facing foreclosure who are in a hurry to sell their properties for cash, you probably should be advertising in a very different manner than if you want to reach retirement investors actively building their portfolios.
Real Estate Investor Pitfall: Not Enough Audience Details
In the past, advertisers used to rely mainly on age demographics to identify their audiences. That was often the only thing they had to work with because there were not as many sophisticated ways to collect information about people at that time. In the present day, however, with rich data and analytics at our fingertips, try to define your audience beyond just age. The more specific you can be with your target, the greater your chance of campaign success and reduced waste. This information will also assist you in determining what mediums to use to reach those targets.
Guideline #3 Know Your Media
Having a clear, deep knowledge of marketing channels will save you time, increase your odds of success, and help you make wiser media buys. Here are just a few of your advertising options in 2018:
- Broadcast television
- Social Media
Each channel has a different strength, reaches different audiences, and is optimized to achieve different goals. Depending on how you responded to guidelines #1 and #2, you might need to focus most of your advertising investment budget in just a few places or you might need to create a “team” to achieve your goals.
In some cases, one media buy can incorporate multiple media. For example, you might make a package purchase that included radio airtime, print media, and a digital promotion. This can be a big advantage in terms of value and to create a coherent, effective brand message for your company. If you do not understand how different media work, however, then you may be less likely to be successful with a multi-channel approach.
Real Estate Investor Pitfall: Spending Without Strategy
Real estate investors are among the most creative entrepreneurs out there, and they understand better than anyone how investing a relatively small amount of money in a solid strategy can yield extremely large, relatively fast returns. However, many new investors get carried away with marketing spending and do so without a cogent strategy. This essentially diffuses their marketing. If you are considering buying advertising in multiple media spaces, be sure to discuss your goals and analyze how you will reach your target market and achieve those goals across the media you selected.
Don’t Forget the Foundational Principle
While learning and then sticking to these three guidelines will move your marketing in the right direction, it is imperative to remember that your advertising should be an investment rather an expense.
Look Over All of the Business Cards and Contact Information You Have Collected
Which contacts had an immediate connection? Whose objectives were similar to yours? Who had a business that would work well in conjunction with your own? These are the people you should work to build a relationship with. Call them and get to know them over coffee or a meal. Don’t focus on a business transaction. Simply focus on getting to know them better.
During this phase, do everything you can to help the people on your list. Be the go-to person for them that you hope they will become for you.
Phase Three Maintain Your Reputation as an Information Sharer and Helper
The more you share information and provide insight and assistance, the more people will come to you. At this phase, you are well-connected. When you network, you establish yourself as an investor, connect with people who could help you, learn more about investing, and so much more. Networking is one of the most important things you can do in order to get started right in real estate.