For the purpose of this series, I would like to define what it actually means to be a "Modern Real Estate Agent."
It has nothing to do with the size of your smartphone screen, or how many iPads you can work into your business. It also has nothing to do with how many online services you can rack up on your credit card, or the number of social selfies you can post to as many different clouds as possible.
In my opinion, it has to do with mentality; a holistic mentality based on analytical thinking and iterative improvement. Or in other words...
Do something once, track the progress, and do it better next time.
Rinse and repeat.
You might be wondering where the word "modern" comes to play in this concept. For the sake of clarity, I'll use the following definition from the Oxford Dictionary (emphasis added):
"Characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment"
The simple fact of the matter is that the entire concept of being able to accurately track all of your marketing with little effort on your side is a completely new possibility. What was once thought to be the domain of specialized market research companies is now available to you with the click of a button.
It is this fact, once internalized, that makes you a “Modern Real Estate Agent.”
Once you apply these concepts to your business thinking as a whole, a world of possibilities is opened and clarity is given to the myriad of choices placed in front of you on a day-to-day basis.
It's easy to read about techniques and tools, but first you have to absorb the ideas before you can have any chance of using such resources to any real benefit.
Having said all of that, it is incredibly important to provide value with everything you do (this will be a main theme in this series) and thus I will give you a sneak peek of what is to come by showing you how you can approach a traditional newspaper ad with this modern mentality.
How to modernize a simple newspaper ad
Before I go into details, I would like to officially announce that offline marketing is far from dead. The numbers might not be what they once were, but it is still effective and really comes down to what types of media your target audience is consuming.
The difference between old-school and new-school offline marketing is trackability, and where it fits into the larger marketing plan. So without going into too much detail and spoiling future articles, here is how you could pull off an awesome newspaper ad campaign:
- Target the ad at a specific niche (For example, Lower Lonsdale Condos)
- Make sure the ad focuses on what people are actually buying, not your face or your logo
- Make sure the ad is focused on getting people to go to a website or to phone you
- Make sure the URL used is related to your target niche (www.condosonlowerlonsdale.com, for example) and is not used in any other marketing efforts
- The website being linked to should be focused on a specific niche. A common technique is to use a niche microsite which is a single-page website that shows all the active listings in a specific area and property type. Don't just drop them into a busy top-level REALTOR site or they may get lost.
- The website should have Google Analytics installed so you can track visitors
- Include a phone number on the ad and use a service such as CallRail to provide a unique number so you can easily track calls from the ad.
For most marketing campaigns, it is a good idea to stage it over a couple months as it takes some time to get a feel for effectiveness based on the numbers.
Let's say that you are going to do 4 newspaper ads, with one sent out every 2 weeks.
Send out the first ad and track the stats, now when it comes time to submit the second ad, make some changes based on feedback or hunches - such as the copy used, photo, design, etc. - and send it out again. You can now very easily see the difference in results from the 2 campaigns to analytically see if the changes you made had a positive impact.
Continue to do this for the next 2 ads, and do a debriefing at the end to see what sort of changes resulted in positive outcomes. Record this information in some sort of "Marketing Manual" so that you can use this experience to improve all other future marketing efforts.
Because of the nature of marketing there is no way to guarantee the effectiveness of a technique. But when you are applying the “Modern Mindset” and recording your results, then you can benefit from failed campaigns.
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