“During the listing presentation, see if the messaging is generic, lacks strategic direction regarding who the target buyer audience is, and lacks understanding of the home’s unique selling points,” says Ashley Adamczyk, real estate agent and owner of Ashley Adamczyk Properties.
Here are 7 key questions to test if your real estate marketing plan is up to snuff.
Placing ads on Facebook.
When it comes to promoting your home on social media, Facebook reigns as king.
Nearly 85% of real estate agents said Facebook was the social media network they planned to use the most.
“Facebook’s large user base makes it the go-to social network for real estate agents looking to promote their services,” Adamczyk says.
Therefore, it’s vital to ask how much Facebook advertising, if any, is included in the marketing plan.
Listen to whether your agent’s familiar with using the platform’s Facebook demographic buyer targeting tools. Ask if they can show you examples for how they’ve used Facebook to promote a Sunday open house, or drum up buzz around listings with a “Coming Soon” or “Just Listed” ad.
💯 Most importantly, make sure your agent is certified to run ads on Facebook through The Facebook Blueprint Certification Program.
What kind of outreach will you do to draw in buyers?
An agent’s marketing plan for your home should provide a clear course of action for how they plan to attract buyers and generate buzz about your listing.
Think of it as a map that shows the road to the final destination—in this case, selling your home.
The plan need not be a slick document, but it does need to be in writing.
If all your agent can talk about is putting your home on the MLS, which then syndicates your property details to top real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, and Redfin—then drop them like a hot potato.
“If an agent can’t tell you what they’re going to do to market the home, then they’re just going to put it on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and they’re going to put a sign in the yard and they’re going to pray that somebody comes to buy it.”
In the event your agent’s got more meat behind their pitch, keep listening.
SEO and SEM
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two key terms to listen for when it comes to marketing your home.
SEO drives free traffic to a web page (such as your real estate listing) from search engines like Google. SEM directs paid search engine traffic, such as pay-per-click ads, to places like your agent’s website to boost your home’s listing exposure.
Does your agent talk about optimizing your listing to include commonly used, sought-after keywords, such as your home’s location in the desirable “Manhattan Beach” neighborhood?
Harnessing other digital platforms to raise your home’s exposure.
Facebook shouldn’t necessarily be the only social media avenue for marketing your home. See if your agent touches on other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, or whatever’s worked well for them in the past.
Are they offering up creative ideas specific to your home, like highlighting your spacious kitchen with the two Viking stoves, or posting a digital tour of your home on Instagram Stories to tease the listing? What about a video that spotlights backyard amenities like the in-ground pool and children’s treehouse?
Here you’re checking to see if your agent’s plan will hit buyers in as many places on the web as possible in creative ways that highlight your home’s unique selling points.
Spreading the word about your house to local real estate agents and the neighbors.
Your marketing plan also should have methods for cultivating interest in your home among other real estate agents, such as those who’ve brought buyers to the table elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Find out if your agent has plans to:
*Talk up your listing around the office?
*Call buyer’s agents to generate buzz that’ll lead to showings of your home?
*Shoot out an email blast to buyer’s agents in their network?
*Send direct mailers to buyers in hopes of getting them to attend an open house?
*Place ads in newspapers and magazines targeted at buyers who are in the sweet spot for your home’s price range?
*Ask to see an example of your agent’s past marketing materials. Ads in print publications as well as fliers should feature some key components:
*An eye-catching, professional design
*Simple, easy-to-read fonts
*Catchy copy to describe your home’s most desirable qualities, such as “Turn Key” or “$20,000 worth of upgrades”
*Your agent’s name, brokerage, phone number, email, and website
If you’re seeing drab designs and 1995 Word Art ala Microsoft Office, that might raise some questions about your agent’s budget and creative know-how.
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Who’s our target buyer pool?
Like a politician should know their audience before delivering a speech, your agent should have a clear understanding of who your target buyer is.
Ask your agent about the buyers they’re targeting with your home’s marketing plan.
A good agent will have research and knowledge of the area and know the buyer pool like the back of their hand.
Listen for the agent to tell you about demographic shifts in the neighborhood, who’s moving in and who’s moving out, and make sure they have a clear and vivid picture of the people who would buy this house.
Are they young families looking to settle down before the school year starts? Are they older, making your single-story style an attractive option for aging in place?
How do I know whether the marketing plan is working?
If you’re the type of person who likes frequent updates, you want to find out if your agent will have the tracking metrics to provide you should you ask for them.
Will they text you, call you, or email you with new developments?
Even if you plan to stay at an arm’s length throughout the marketing process, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your agent’s staying on top of your home’s performance and buyer interest around it.
Listen to see if your agent keeps tabs on things like:
*How much traffic your online listing is generating
*How many showings you’re booking
*Where buyers are finding your listing
*Social media metrics around any ad campaigns
What happens if we don’t get any showings?
A marketing plan shouldn’t be set in stone; rather, it should be fluid like sand, able to shift and react to changing circumstances as needed.
You’ve got to adjust to what the market tells you. At the beginning, we’re making really educated guesses on all of the pieces (of the marketing plan).
Sellers should recognize that many marketing efforts require a reasonable amount of time to generate results, so don’t pull the plug too quickly.”
You want an agent who won’t panic at the first sign of trouble but can identify the issue, adjust fast, and tweak your marketing plan accordingly.
What’s your marketing budget?
Here you’ll get a feel for the money behind your home’s individual listing, but you also want to find out how much the brokerage you’re listing your home with cares about marketing their business and brand to the community at large.
We spend a lot of money not just for every specific property, but for generating views online, attracting buyers, and we then convert them to buy the properties that we list. All of that marketing money is being funneled into these different listings.
So not only should there be a strong marketing plan for your individual home, but you should see if the agency who will represent you has an effective overarching marketing plan they are willing to invest in.
How will I know if the price is right?
Price is the most important part of any marketing plan.
Your agent should be well-versed in creating a comparative market analysis to price your home accurately from the get-to.
If a home lingers too long on the market, buyers will question whether something is wrong with the property. A typical home spends 3 weeks on the market according to National Association of Realtors data, so if you linger much longer than that, it’s time for a reboot.
Pricing a property too high is going to lose you money in the long run,” Adamczyk says.
So you want your agent to be real with you about what happens if your home sits stale for too long.
Never settle for “posting to the MLS” as your marketing plan
Nike sells shoes with ads that inspire people to conquer their demons and “just do it.” M&Ms stays relevant with millennials using candy mascot Facebook groups. Coca-Cola puts names like “Joe” and “Taylor” on its bottles to make its big brand power more personal.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes rely on clever marketing plans to promote their products and services. Your home—which is a product, too—deserves its own tailored publicity roadmap.
But great marketing doesn’t come out of thin air, whether you’re selling a mega-brand or your run-of-the-mill home on Main Street. It requires deep knowledge of your target audience and careful planning.
That’s what you hire an agent for. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one with the advertising genius of Don Draper and work ethic of Casey Hurbis, the CMO of Quicken Loans who couldn’t sleep for the 7 months leading up to the mortgage lender’s Super Bowl LII ad campaign launch.
I hope that helps!