The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing in 2019

There’s a lot to consider when creating your real estate marketing plan. But don’t worry; we’re going to help you iron out your marketing strategy.
Learn more about real estate licensing and get exclusive offers

Don’t make the rookie mistake of going into the new year without a plan.

Creating a real estate marketing plan will keep you focused on lead-generation so you have a full pipeline of new clients coming in all year long.

In this post. We’ll cover: A few caveats to real estate marketing 15+ real estate marketing ideas to help you crush it in 2019 * How to create your own 2019 real estate marketing plan

There’s a lot to consider when creating your real estate marketing plan. But don’t worry; we’re going to help you iron out your marketing strategy.

This is the Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing in 2019!

A Few Important Real Estate Marketing Notes

Before we get started, there are a few notes we should cover upfront:

1. Marketing requires an investment

Nothing comes without a cost. You need to be prepared to invest time or money (or, most likely, both) if you expect to see results from your marketing. Keep your schedule and your budget in mind when crafting your 2019 real estate marketing strategy.

2. Marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all

The success of your marketing campaign largely depends on your local market and your niche. Different marketing strategies work better in different markets and with different demographics. For example, if you’re focusing on new retirees looking to downsize, you’ll probably want to focus on Facebook instead of Instagram. But the exact opposite strategy would work better if you’re marketing to Millennials. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little trial and error to find your sweet spot.

3. Purchasing leads is not marketing

Purchasing leads is a slippery slope. You may come to rely on those leads and never learn how to generate leads of your own. And then what happens when your sources jack up their prices because so many agents are purchasing leads? Purchasing leads may have a place in your business plan, but don’t mistake it for marketing.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2019

Now we’re ready to get into specific marketing ideas that work for 2019 buyers and sellers. We’re going to cover a lot of real estate marketing ideas in this section, so let’s break them up into categories:

  1. Publishing
  2. Prospecting
  3. Advertising
  4. Networking
  5. Client Retention

Category #1: Publishing

Publishing is all about sending quality content out into the world for buyers and sellers to find. You’ve probably heard the term content marketing cropping up over the last few years. And that’s exactly what publishing is: creating content and marketing yourself through your content.

There are several ways to market real estate through publishing, so we’ll look at them individually.

Website

Websites are no longer optional. As a real estate agent in 2019, you need an online space where you have 100% control over the content.

Having a website of your own gives you: Instant credibility as a real estate professional Web pages for Google to index so you can be found online Your own visual branding so you can build your brand recognition Ownership over your content so don’t lose everything if you ever leave your current broker

And getting a website of your own has never been easier or more affordable. You can hire a web designer to create a site for you, rent a site from companies like Easy Agent Pro, Intagent, or Agent Image, or even build your own site if you’re on a tight budget.

There’s no excuse not to have your own website in 2019.

Blog

When you have your own website, you can start publishing your own blog content. Blogging might just be the single most underrated real estate marketing activity. Most agents either don’t understand the benefits of blogging, or they don’t stick with it long enough to see results.

Blogging isn’t an instant payoff; it takes time to build a following, start ranking on Google for local searches and gain qualified leads. You have to have the discipline to stay the course for 3-12 months before you realize the full benefits of blogging. But when that happens, you get to enjoy: Demonstrating your expertise. Buyers and sellers will know you’re the expert because they’ll see your knowledgeable blog posts.
Increased engagement with prospects and clients. Blogging is a great way to consistently provide value to prospects and clients, and stay top-of-mind. A quickly-growing email list. You can include opt-ins on your blog posts for readers to sign up for your newsletter. Hello, warm leads! Passive leads. No more time-intensive cold calling and door knocking for you!

Invest the time in 2019 in marketing through blogging. Commit to just one post per week and watch your business evolve.

Video

How about we take your blog to the next level? Adding video makes Google about 50% more likely to rank your website on the first page of search results. So if you want buyers and sellers to find you online, you need to add video to your website.

And you don’t need a fancy camera or editing software to do it. In fact, we can teach you how to take advantage of video marketing with just your cell phone!

Your blog is a great way to work videos into your website. The options are limitless: Home tours Neighborhood tours Recordings of yourself talking about buyer and seller tips Home maintenance fixes Interviews with local homeowners Interviews with local business owners

Get creative. You can post a full 15-30 minute video on your blog and YouTube, and edit the video into 2-minute snippets that you can post to your social media accounts. Speaking of social media...

Social Media

Social media marketing continues to grow more impactful each year. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest allow you to connect with clients and prospects. And, just as importantly, it allows your contacts to share your content with others. Perfect for getting referrals!

Agents often wonder what to post to social media. Links to your blog posts and your videos are perfect social media material. You’re providing value to your audience instead of just advertising to them. You can also post pictures you take around town, local news updates, and market trends.

Social media marketing is a large topic all its own. If you’re a little overwhelmed by social media marketing, check out our free guide, Mastering the Art of Social Media Marketing.

Category #2: Prospecting

Prospecting is basically just contacting individuals. Instead of publishing a post to reach the masses, you’re going to reach out to a single person to see if you can help them buy or sell.

We’ll look at a few different prospecting options: cold calling, door knocking, and email marketing.

Cold Calling

Cold calling is just picking up your phone, dialing a number, and asking if the person who answers the phone is interested in buying or selling. Simple.

As you might expect, the conversion rate isn’t great on cold calls. But there are ways you can improve your rates. For example, you could focus on landline numbers. Most likely, these numbers belong to the generation of homeowners who are hitting the age where they might be considering downsizing and selling.

Word of caution: respect the Do Not Call Registry. Before you dial a number, see if it’s listed on the registry, and if it is, don’t call!

Door Knocking

Door knocking is less popular than it once was because people are less receptive to strangers making house calls. But it can still work, especially if you have a non-intrusive reason for knocking.

A great door knocking strategy for 2019 is to notify neighbors of open houses. Neighbors often like to pop by open houses out of curiosity. They want to see their neighbors’ home and see how much they’re asking. So when you have an open house scheduled, knock on the doors up and down that street just to invite the neighbors to the open house and to give a little market news that might interest them. For example:

“Yeah, the Johnsons are selling at a great time. Market values are up 13% over last year, so they’re smart to sell now before it goes back to slower increases. By the way, here’s my card. If you’re interested in selling your home, or you just want to know how much your house could be worth in today’s market, I’d be happy to help you.”

Email Marketing

Tech tools like MailChimp and MailerLite are automating email marketing to save you time and help you reach more prospects.

You can create automated emails to follow up with buyers and sellers who express interest on your website. And not just a one-time follow-up. You can create funnels to automatically reach your prospects with prewritten messages on a predefined scheduled.

There’s a lot you can do with email marketing. Which is why we have a free guide to help you navigate it! Snag your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing in Real Estate, and become an email marketing master.

Category #3: Advertising

Advertising is paying to put your brand in a space that will be seen by lots of potential buyers and sellers.

Online ads are a great option for agents in 2019, but print ads and other sources like billboards can still be effective.

Online

Facebook ads are a cost-effective advertising tool for real estate agents because they allow you to target which users will see your ads. For example, you can target Facebook users in your local area based on relationship status, education, and hobbies. While Facebook also allows targeting by age and gender for most ads, these criteria can violate fair housing, so Facebook will prevent real estate agents from posting ads with these specific demographics.

Online advertising also includes options like Google Ads and banner ads on specific websites. You have lots of options when it comes to online advertising, so figure out where your audience is online, and post ads where they can see them.

In print

Print ads can still be an effective way to market yourself in some markets. If you’re working with an older demographic, the local house hunter magazines may still get a fair amount of circulation.

Print ads can also be a good way to target investor clients. Many investors still subscribe to local real estate publications to keep an eye on the market.

Misc

Billboards, bus benches, and grocery store shopping carts are still options to help get your name and face out there and garner some local brand recognition.

A more modern incarnation of this miscellaneous advertising is to act as a sponsor. Sponsor the local soccer team, sponsor a park clean-up effort, or sponsor an event for a local charity. You’ll be able to give back to the community you love while getting some advertising in the process.

Category #4: Networking

Networking is all about building relationships. Who knows...that mortgage lender may be able to send a few buyers your way!

Open houses

Everyone knows open houses are just as much about promoting the listing agent as they are about promoting the listing.

Open houses give you the chance to meet neighbors, other agents, and casual buyers (who may not be serious about buying yet but are starting to get in that headspace).

Open houses are a great way for you to get your feet wet as a new agent. You can even offer to host an open house for another agent in your office if you don’t have a listing of your own yet.

Professional organizations

Do you belong to any professional organizations?

Not only are they a great support network, but they also instantly boost your industry credibility, and they give you the opportunity to network for possible future referrals.

There are lots of organizations to choose from depending on your specialty and your industry interests. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the perfect place to start. Then check out our list of the real estate organizations you should join in 2019.

Social media groups

Social media groups are a great way to network with real estate professionals all over the world. They’re easy to join, and you can use your new groups as a sounding board. Ask industry questions, get feedback on your business card designs, or even get referrals! Real estate agents in Facebook groups are always trading referrals back and forth.

To find groups, just type something like “real estate agents” in the search bar, click on “See all results for real estate agents”, then select “Groups” on the top of the search results page. Click the button to join, maybe answer a question or two, and you’re in!

PR

Very few real estate agents think about Public Relations when they think about Marketing. But the two go hand-in-hand.

When your local news channel wants to do a segment on the real estate market, who do they interview? Why not you?! You could be the go-to real estate expert when local journalists need quotes or interviews for their stories. Appearing on TV, on the radio, in magazines, or in newspapers will make you the face of local real estate and make you the agent everyone wants to work with. And how great with those mentions look on your website and social media feeds?

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a great place to start your PR marketing campaign. Sign up online as a source and reply to inquiries for expert sources. You’ll be a local celebrity in no time.

Category #5: Client Retention

Your past clients may need real estate help in the future (or have friends and family who need real estate help). So don’t ignore them once your deal is done. Continue marketing to them to remain top-of-mind. That’s how you retain clients and earn referral business.

Newsletters

A simple email newsletter is the easiest way to stay in touch with your past clients. Just send an email or two every month to update your contact list on market changes and your new blog posts. And anything else that may be of general interest to your community.

Cards and Gifts

Cards and gifts during the holidays are a delightful way to show your past and present clients that you’re thinking of them and that you appreciate them. Plus, with a little planning, your gift could also become a conversation piece that will get your buyers talking about you with their friends and family. Check out our holiday gift guide for some genius gift ideas.

It’s also a great idea to celebrate the anniversary of the date your buyers bought their home. An anniversary card or celebratory bottle of wine is a lovely way to mark the occasion.

Host an experience

If you want to take client retention to the next level, try giving your past clients an experience. Host an outdoor movie night, a Paint and Sip party, or an exclusive tour of a local landmark for your past clients. It’s sure to impress your clients and get lots of shares on social media. In fact, create a unique hashtag for your event to maximize engagement.

How to Create Your 2019 Real Estate Marketing Plan

Now that we’ve covered the different options available, let’s create your 2019 real estate marketing plan:

Step #1: See what worked last year

Experienced agents have the advantage of being able to look back at 2018 and see what marketing strategies worked this past year. Where did your leads come from? Focus on the marketing ideas that are already working for you. Then round out your marketing by trying a few new ideas.

For new agents: trust your instincts. What marketing ideas do you think will work for your niche? Start there. You can always adjust your marketing strategy later if you need to.

Step #2: Decide on a budget

Again, seasoned agents have the benefit of checking their records to see how much they spent on marketing in 2018. That gives them a general idea of what to spend in 2019.

It’s trickier for new agents who are 1) not sure of how much marketing efforts cost and 2) on a tight budget until business picks up. A good rule-of-thumb is to invest 10-15% of your commission into marketing. You have to continuously reinvest in your business to keep it growing.

If you’re wondering how much other agents are spending, here’s a study of how much money real estate agents spent on their marketing in 2017:

Step #3: Allocate that budget to specific marketing activities

Now that you know how much you plan to spend, you need to decide how much of your budget will be spent on each marketing category.

How much will you spend on: Publishing? Prospecting? Advertising? Networking? * Client Retention?

Step #4: Create a marketing calendar

So we’ve talked about the financial investment in your marketing plan. Now we need to figure out how much time you’ll invest in your marketing and block out some time to make sure your marketing tasks are completed.

Make a list of the marketing activities you’re going to focus on in 2019. Jot down how much time you will commit to spending on each activity. And how often you’ll do each.

Now open your calendar. And enter your marketing activities. If you’re planning to publish a blog post every Friday, create a recurring event to set aside time every week to write the post, edit the post, and publish the post.

If you’re planning to make cold calls every weekday, create a recurring daily event: every day from 9:00-9:30, you have an appointment to make your cold calls. Sticking to your marketing plan will be a whole lot easier if you have automatic reminders on your calendar.

Step #5: Execute!

You’ve worked hard to create an effective marketing plan. Now you need to follow your plan. Your plan is worthless if you’re not going to execute.

Step #6: Track your results

The last step is to track your results. Every time a lead comes in, note the source. And pay attention to which lead sources are actually giving you quality leads that convert to sales. You need to know what’s working so you can make adjustments to improve your marketing plan for future years.

Crush It in 2019!

You now know all about the real estate marketing strategies that are working in 2019, and you’ve got your real estate marketing plan for this year. Now get out there and crush it in 2019!

Image sources in order of appearance: Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash, RealTrends

Krista Doyle