Real estate is a field that's equal parts challenging and potentially lucrative. A 2020 study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 88% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
That same study also found that 73% of buyers interviewed only one real estate agent during their home search — a figure that highlights the importance of building awareness and getting in front of buyers as quickly as possible. That's why having a solid grasp of real estate marketing is an absolute must for anyone in the field.
Below, I’ve compiled some real estate marketing ideas top agents use to promote their businesses. Whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced realtor looking to attract new clients, these marketing tips will help you create a successful marketing plan.
Unique Real Estate Marketing Ideas
- Create a website.
- Build a blog.
- Develop email marketing campaigns.
- Employ virtual staging.
- Try experiential marketing.
- Partner with local businesses.
- Run paid Instagram promotion.
- Use drone photography.
- Create a Zillow profile.
- Ask for referrals.
- Make your own videos.
- Co-host a webinar.
- Collect and display testimonials.
- Leverage traditional advertising media.
- Optimize your website for mobile.
- Actively leverage social media profiles.
- Maintain an email newsletter.
- Create a standout business card.
- Film video walkthroughs.
- Invest in branded swag.
1. Create a website.
Many consumers search the internet to investigate products and services before they buy. Creating a website for your real estate business will show prospective clients what you have to offer. Include listings on your site and update them regularly -- this will keep prospects coming to your site as they search for properties.
And add something a little unexpected to set your website apart. Take this mortgage calculator, and easy value add for visitors.
2. Build a blog.
You can also start a blog and create content optimized for SEO. This ensures your posts show up in prospect search results every time. Tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs can help you find the search terms and keywords your target clients are looking for and will inspire you with fresh topic ideas.
Make it easy for them to navigate to your main website and link to your profile pages on other real estate sites so they can learn more about you and your business.
And don't forget to create interesting images for your posts. This infographic would make a great addition to any blog post or email marketing campaign.
Image source: Space Simply
3. Develop email marketing campaigns.
Send a monthly newsletter roundup of your blog content, and reach out to contacts when new property listings are available. Include images of the properties that link to the full listing, a video walkthrough of the property, or a virtual staging of the home.
4. Employ virtual staging.
How can you pique buyer interest? Give them a sneak preview of what the home looks like by using a virtual staging website. Online staging saves you the time and money of physically staging the property. And a 2018 study of 4,200+ homes found 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than unstaged homes.
5. Try experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing engages your prospects and "invites an audience to interact with a business in a real-world situation." Host a tour of the area you’re selling in, hold an event to teach area homebuyers about the process of buying a home, or arrange an open house and invite buyers to view the home.
6. Partner with local businesses.
Use your local connections and partner with clothing boutiques, home decor showrooms, and coffee shops to promote listings — and invite them to participate in an open house event. For a unique way to encourage prospects to visit your open house, set up pop-up shops in different rooms of the house.
This encourages potential buyers to explore each room, and you can work with the local businesses to determine discounts on goods that can be offered to the home buyers.
7. Run paid Instagram promotion.
Instagram is another tool to get in touch with home buyers, promote your listings, and grow your brand. And your most beautiful images can reach even more people with a paid promotion.
Instagram ads allow you to pick a target audience, budget, post type (e.g. image, video, carousel), and length of your promotion. And you can use targeted hashtags to ensure posts are presented to the people you’d like to reach.
Free Real Estate Marketing Template
8. Use drone photography.
Use the photos to add an excitement factor to your listings. Video can be used to supplement your virtual tours or walkthroughs and show exterior features like patios and pools.
Don't have the drone photography chops you need to show your clients' homes in their best light? Services like Drone Base have thousands of experienced photographers around the globe and specialize in both residential and commercial real estate.
Image source: Drone Base
9. Create a Zillow profile.
With over 188 million monthly viewers, Zillow provides the opportunity to get your business in front of thousands of new prospects. This resource from Zillow lists the steps to set up your own profile. Your profile allows you to share your listings with a large audience and connect with potential clients, increasing the likelihood of gaining a new buyer.
10. Ask for referrals.
Did you know 41% of sellers using a real estate agent found that agent through a referral from friends or family? If you're not asking for referrals, you should be.
Follow up with buyers a few months after they've settled into their new home to ask how they're doing, and include a referral request in your email.
Hello [Buyer's name],
I hope you're settling into your beautiful home! You picked a great neighborhood to buy it, and I'm so happy to have been able to help you through the process.
I so enjoyed with working with you. If you have any friends or family looking to buy or sell in the area, I'd love the opportunity to work with them. I'm hosting a happy hour next week to talk with people about the current market.
Feel free to share this event link with anyone you think might be interested: [Insert link to event page]
Some realtors will offer to plan a housewarming party for their new homeowners and use the party/guest list to meet with potential buyers.
11. Make your own videos.
It's no secret that video can be a powerful tool for realtors. And it doesn't have to cost thousands. Whether you go for a highly produced video like the one below with client testimonials or use video software to record a message from your laptop pitching your services to a potential client, video can be a way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
12. Co-host a webinar.
Want to make it easy for potential buyers or sellers in your area to understand the current market? Partner with a local lender, title company, or even your favorite staging service and host a webinar on a topic that will interest those thinking of making a real estate move.
For example, you might team up with a local home improvement service to conduct a webinar on the top five most valuable improvements sellers can make to their homes to boost sales prices. These changes and tastes can differ per state, so this can be valuable information sellers can't find online.
13. Collect and display testimonials.
Your satisfied previous clients are an excellent resource for bolstering your credibility and building trust through your real estate marketing. If a sale goes well, touch base with the customers you helped and get a paragraph-long blurb speaking to how helpful you were.
Once you have that content — along with those clients' permission to project it — put it on your website, so prospects can get a real understanding of how well you've previously served people in their position.
14. Leverage traditional advertising media.
While the real estate market hasn't been exempt from the rising tide of digital transformation, some old-school marketing tactics can still play into an effective real estate marketing strategy. More traditional media like print advertisements and billboards often provide a big-time boost to real estate agents' marketing efforts.
15. Optimize your website for mobile.
This point is pertinent for any business people that maintain websites — and real estate agents are no exception. You want your web experience to be as seamless as possible. Prospects shouldn't have to deal with a clunky, "desktop condensed onto a phone screen" mobile site when they want to learn more about your business.
16. Actively leverage social media profiles.
Maintaining an active, engaging social media presence is one of the better ways to frame yourself as a trusted advisor for prospects, generate interest, and connect with potential clients. Join local Facebook groups, and answer relevant questions that arise on them — and take similar strides on other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
You can also share helpful content with your followers. One way or another, establish yourself as an authority in your space by demonstrating that you know what you're talking about. Prospective clients want to connect with real estate agents that understand the practice, their niche, and their areas — show that you have a grasp on all of those with your social media presence.
17. Maintain an email newsletter.
One way to keep yourself at the top of potential clients' minds is by staying in active touch with them via a newsletter. Send them relevant content, report on local real estate news, and update them on listings in their area. It doesn't have to be particularly complex or extensive — just enough to keep them thinking of you by letting them know you're staying up on trends in your local market.
18. Create a stand-out business card.
Printing solid, visually appealing business cards is one of the better ways real estate professionals can get their brands out and demonstrate professionalism. Business cards are easily distributable and can help you capitalize on any in-person interactions you have with potential clients. They're essentially micro-marketing resources — and serve as instant calls to action for any prospect conversations.
19. Film video walkthroughs.
Modern consumers are receptive to immersive experiences — especially when it comes to getting to know homes they might buy. If you're selling or leasing properties, conducting thorough video tours of them and posting those clips with your listings can add a degree of credibility and intrigue to your real estate marketing.
20. Invest in branded swag.
People love free stuff — from keychains to mugs to pens to can koozies and beyond — so if you have the opportunity to provide swag like that, you should take it. It's an excellent way to get your brand out and keep your services top of mind when attracting and retaining potential clients.
How to Create a Real Estate Marketing Plan [Template]
Now that you have some marketing ideas, the next question is, "What’s the plan?" Without clear goals for your real estate business and marketing strategy, it’s difficult to measure success. Consider the following points when developing your marketing plan.
1. Create a vision statement.
What do you want to accomplish in the short and long term? Develop a vision statement to identify the goals you’d like to reach. This makes it easier to lay out steps for reaching your business’ vision.
2. Identify your target customer.
Who are you marketing to? Will you be marketing to sellers, renters, first-time home buyers, etc.? Identifying the personas you’re selling to paints a clearer picture of who to target with your marketing efforts.
3. Develop goals.
Set goals for your overall marketing initiatives, and summarize which strategies you’ll use to accomplish these goals. What are the business goals you’d like to reach? And what criteria will you use to decide if these goals have been met?
4. Determine your unique selling proposition.
Think about what differentiates you from your competition. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when developing your proposition:
- What can you offer that others can’t?
- How does your unique approach or personality create value for prospects?
- What are the latest pricing, selling, and buying trends in your market?
- How can you discuss these trends (including the numbers) with prospects?
5. Determine tools and budget for each strategy.
Pick the top marketing ideas that will work for your business, selling proposition, and ideal target market. From there, calculate how much of your budget to allocate to each strategy.
6. Measure performance.
Once you’ve identified the tools you’ll be using to market your business, write down key metrics to measure their success. Determine the timeframe for the strategy or campaign and set a goal. Let’s use a paid Instagram ad as an example:
Campaign: Instagram post promotion
Length of promotion: 3 weeks
Goal: The post should gain 1,000 impressions and have a click-through rate of 1%.
Should I hire a real estate marketer?
That's a tricky question. For one, there's no clear definition of what a "real estate marketer" actually is. Several potential marketing ideas for real estate professionals don't need to be allocated to a consultant or third party — for instance, you probably don't need a marketer to film a quick walkthrough of an apartment.
But a lot of the time, real estate professionals lack the time, resources, and know-how to assume certain marketing responsibilities — and those can often be outsourced to contractors.
If you're struggling with website design, content creation, graphic design, SEO, or any other technical or creative process beyond your skillset, you might want to bring in some people who can address those issues for you.
Create your real estate marketing plan.
With these marketing ideas, you’re sure to wow your potential customers and attract them to your services. Creating a marketing plan will help you set goals for your marketing campaigns and develop the steps to reach these goals.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.