When Should You Abandon a New Real Estate Marketing Program?
Real estate agents have an unlimited choice of where to spend their time and money on marketing. I often get asked about how long it will take to know if a marketing program will work and at what point should you try something else if you are not getting the results you desire. The answer is complicated, but I tend to see two basic problems to consider depending on where you are in your career.
Before I get into the challenges I see for new Realtors vs. veteran Realtors, it is worth mentioning that you need to construct your marketing to be trackable. If you do not embed ways for tracking, you will not be able to measure its effectiveness. You need to make custom urls, emails and phone numbers. Ask new leads how they found you. This is the only way to accurately measure the revenue vs. the costs. Not having this information is like driving into a new location without any map or GPS.
New Agents Abandon Ship Too Quickly
New real estate agents generally do not have a lot of financial resources and therefore will often fail to have the patience required to see if a new marketing initiative will work. I get it. It can be painful to see money going out the door if you are not bringing a lot back in return. Too often, though, agents will quit something right before it has had a chance to succeed.
If you find yourself in this position. make sure to consider the following:
Is your marketing budget big enough for the size of the market you are trying to reach?
Are you communicating a cohesive message that uniquely defines your value proposition?
Are you reaching your audience on a consistent basis and reaching them through multiple channels?
When you start out, make sure the market size is appropriate for your budget. Make sure you have a message that shows your value proposition in a unique way. Make sure you reach your audience consistently. Direct mailing on less than a monthly basis will not work. You need to reach your audience frequently, and it works best if you do it through multiple messages and platforms. For example, targeting a geographic farm works better when you reach them through direct mail, an e-newsletter and an event — all of them — than if you were to focus on any single one of the items. The latter two are very inexpensive, but they will help make your more expensive direct mail marketing have a better return on investment.
As a general rule you should give new marketing initiatives at least six months to work. If you cannot commit to that amount of time and resource, then it would be better to invest those resources in something else.
Experienced Agents Tend to Waste Money
If newer real estate agents tend to not wait long enough to see marketing results pay off, experienced agents have a tendency to wait too long. There are a number of reasons for this:
- The industry measures and recognizes sales volume, not profit. This makes it tempting to hold on to marketing efforts that may drive business, but which are not necessarily the most profitable.
- Experienced agents get busier and may not make the time to look at and measure all of their return on investment.
- Experienced agents have more money to spend on marketing, so it takes longer to start feeling the pain of unprofitable decisions.
Make sure you are measuring and tracking your marketing results. Put a system in place to do this – in a detailed monthly report as well as a more general snapshot on a weekly basis. Rank your marketing results both in terms of time and money. Some marketing programs take less time and more money. Others take more time and less money. Both measurements are important.
Here are some things to take into consideration when looking at the rankings of your real estate marketing programs:
- Just because something is profitable does not mean you should continue doing it. You might have other areas that are more profitable and would benefit from more resources and attention.
- Just because something has the highest return on investment does not mean you can extract more from it. A low cost marketing program that generates great leads might not perform better if given more resources, if it is already maximizing the potential in that space. Not everything is scalable.
- Don’t let the above point stop you from searching for new scalable marketing programs. Those programs are the key to growing your business to the next level. Look for them and blow them up when you find them.
Your Marketing Will Change As You Do
What got me from zero to $22 million in sales in my first year was different than what to me to over $200 million three years later. As you grow your marketing will grow and change, too. Some things will work better than others. Making the best use of your time, your money and your people’s time is an ongoing challenge that can only be met by measuring and tracking your marketing. Make sure you do it no matter where you are in your real estate career.
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