With more than a million licensed real estate agents nationwide, it can be daunting to be a new agent competing with seasoned vets for clients. But when you take a step back, you realize the same is true for any new career. To compete with the pros, you need to learn their best practices and implement them in your business.
Getting started in real estate is all about marketing yourself. It’s how you will gain brand recognition and win new clients. That means marketing will be a large part of your business practices for as long as you’re an agent.
Managing all your marketing channels along with your other real estate responsibilities can be challenging, but it’s not impossible (strategic outsourcing can be helpful). We recommend starting with just a few important tasks and scaling from there. Specifically, focus on the three key actions we outline below. They aren’t just for new agents getting started in real estate— things you can abandon in a few years into your career—they are marketing fundamentals that you’ll continue to build on long after you’ve “made it.”
Build a strong presence
Making your brand visible around your neighborhood and across the internet could easily consume the better part of each workday. The simplest and most logical option is to focus on where consumers spend the most time during their home-buying journey—and that’s online. Ninety-five percent of people use the internet during their home search. But, more specifically, consumers turn to Google more than any other search engine. What will they find when they search for your name?
Having a real estate website is table stakes. People have come to expect this; it conveys that you’re digitally savvy and employ modern business practices. You can exceed expectations by including engaging content (like buyers’ or sellers’ guides), a built-in home search engine for buyers and a comparative market analysis (CMA) tool for sellers. This sets you apart and adds value that helps build trust with prospects.
Your website isn’t the only thing that should appear at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Arguably even more important than a website is a Google business profile. This is the large content box that is on the right side of the SERP when you search for a local restaurant, boutique, doctor or other business. It contains everything people should know about you in a snapshot: your agent bio, headshot, contact information, latest real estate successes and reviews with star ratings.
Real estate agents can—and must—take advantage of this free space to get a leg up on their competition. As your business profile gains credibility with Google, it has a better chance of appearing not just when people search for your name, but when they use location-based search terms like “real estate agents near me” or “real estate agents in [zip code].” This organic reach is comparable to Google giving you free advertising space in the absolute best spot imaginable.
The other place to build brand recognition when getting started in real estate is on Facebook. Unfortunately, organic posts don’t have the reach they once did. You need to run ads nowadays to ensure you’re showing up on your target audience’s news feed. That audience should always include your sphere (family, friends, colleagues, past clients and others you know) in addition to residents of your farm area. That’s because people in your sphere know you best and are most likely to give your name to a friend who’s looking for an agent, so you need to make sure they know you’re an active agent. Social media ads are also easy to share and tag friends on, which helps extend your reach even further.
Reviews are social proof, and social proof is what tips the scale in your favor in this digital age. In fact, more than 80% of buyers and sellers will Google an agent to learn more about them, even if they’ve been given a word-of-mouth referral.
Compared to setting up a website and launching Facebook ads, requesting reviews for your Google business profile is a pretty easy task (i.e. just sending an email or text with a link to the review box). As a new agent who hasn’t helped a buyer or sold a listing yet, you’re probably wondering who to ask for a review. You can source reviews from anyone who has worked with you in the past or is able to give you a character reference. As you grow your business, these older reviews will get pushed to the bottom anyway. But you must start with some reviews that will help you gain the trust of prospects who are debating whether to work with you.
You’ve set up a website, Google business profile with reviews and Facebook ads. Now what? Don’t stop! Lead generation is a long game (and one that doesn’t end as long as you still want clients). The purpose of marketing is to continuously keep your funnel full, filling the top with new prospects and converting those at the bottom to active clients.
As long as you aren’t maintaining a blog or other fresh content on your website, you can mostly let that run on autopilot. Just check in regularly to ensure there aren’t technical issues or back-end updates that need to be run.
Your Google business profile, on the other hand, will require regular updates for SEO purposes (otherwise both prospects and Google may assume you’re no longer a practicing agent). Every time it’s updated with a new review, photo or content post, Google takes note and quietly adjusts your ranking for different search terms. Our research strongly indicates that review count and recency are among the most important factors influencing how often a profile is shown in SERPs.
Lastly, agents—both new and experienced—must remain consistent with their paid advertising. Everyone knows of a few brands that they’re bound to see when they log into Facebook. You want to be that brand! Achieving that status with people you don’t know personally means that you’ve achieved brand recognition. And, as we’ve noted, getting in front of your sphere regularly reminds them that you’re an active agent. Next time they’re in a position to give a referral, you’ll be top of mind.
How Homesnap can help
Marketing can be a burden for new agents, especially as they learn the ropes of real estate. Even seasoned agents would rather focus their time on tasks they excel in, like prepping for a listing presentation or working with clients. Homesnap offers a range of marketing services that won’t just help you get off the ground, but also regularly maintain a strong presence across the web as you grow your business.
Homesnap Pro Ads can be launched in minutes on Facebook, Google, Instagram and Waze. We’ll create the ads, optimize the settings and ensure they’re hitting your target audience in the most efficient way. Outsourcing advertising can be beneficial when you’re getting started in real estate since the proper use of these platforms requires their own level of marketing expertise.
If you want to get your Google business profile published at lightning speed, Homesnap Pro+ can help. This service will verify you with Google, fill out your profile, optimize it for search and then manage it and help you gather positive reviews on a regular basis. As part of Pro+ membership, agents also get their own business website with a custom domain, lead pages for all your listings and access to proprietary tools like Sell Speed, Homeowner Info, Heatmaps + Filters and more.