Ask the typical real estate professional what marketing is, and he/she will probably reply, Advertising. What kinds of advertising? Yellow Page ads, newspaper ads, magazine ads, radio ads, television ads, billboards, bus cards, Val-Pak mailings, etc. While all of these advertising devices can certainly be apart of a successful marketing strategy, there are also dozens of low-cost and no-cost marketing methods a vailable to the small business marketer. By simply discovering and applying these simple low-cost, no-cost methods, you will be able to significantly stretch the effectiveness and profitability of your marketing efforts.
7. Copying the mistakes of your competitors.
If everyone else is doing it, then it must be the right thing to do. Remember mom's admonition, If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you want to jump too? Look at the local, small business ads in any newspaper and you will find the same basic format, same basic message, same basic strategy (see Fatal Marketing Mistake No. 1)… ;and the same basic results; little or no response.
We feel safe in the crowd. Safe doing what everyone else is doing. We also assume that if it works for them, it can work equally well for us.
Unfortunately, a real estate agent's success is rarely from one element in their marketing strategy. Their success is the result of many diverse marketing elements; from their location, to their possible lack of competition, to their personality and abundance or lack of marketing aggressiveness. But we rarely take all of these strategic elements into consideration when copying our competitors.
Copying a single marketing element from a competitor is like reaching into their pile of puzzle pieces, pulling out one piece and then trying to make it fit into your puzzle. It rarely works because your marketing puzzle is unique and each piece must fit perfectly with all of your other pieces.
In addition, whatever success a competitor may be experiencing can often be from a few of their less obvious or visible marketing methods. Often the highly visible element (ad, flyer, brochure, etc.) is one of the least effective. You end up copying the profit losers, rather than developing your own profit winners.
8. Directing your marketing to everyone but to no one in particular
Many real estate proffesionals have failed to determine who their best prospects are, where those prospects live or how to reach them effectively and efficiently. This is a critical first step in any successful marketing strategy.
By skipping this step, they resort to running vague and generic one-step ads in mass media, such as local newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cable, Val-pak mailings, Internet web sites, etc.
Their hope is that by presenting their generic message about their business to the greatest number of people, the result will be the highest number of sales. Wrong. Unfortunately for them, effective marketing doesn't work that way.
The fact is, in most cases only a small percentage of the readers/listeners/viewers of mass media will have a need for services at any given time. Some real estate agents may have a hard time believing this, but nevertheless, it's true. Everyone does not need or want your services.
By not targeting your marketing to your very best and logical prospects, you are wasting most of your marketing dollars on people who have little or no interest in your product or service.
If there are only 50 true prospects for your services out of 5,000 possible readers of a publication, why would you want to spend thousands of dollars presenting your message over and over to the 9,900 non-prospects? Yet, this is the method most real estate sellers choose because they don't know that there is a much more cost-effective and profitable strategy.
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9. Wasting your money on Image marketing
A major marketing mistake made by real estate agents is that they pour their marketing dollars into image marketing. Some of their marketing pieces may be clever, even humorous. That kind of marketing rarely asks prospects to take action. The result? Wasted marketing dollars… vague ideas of who saw the marketing pieces… and frustration.
Giant corporations like Pepsi or Nike are interested in name recognition and a specific image for their brands. Therefore, they spend millions of dollars on creative, often fun marketing pieces designed to impress their target market with their image rather than to generate a direct or immediate sale.
Obviously your image and name recognition are important to the success of your small business. But even more important are immediate and steadily growing sales.
How can you determine if your marketing is primarily focused on image marketing? Your marketing pieces don't ask for immediate and specific action from your prospects. This money-wasting and sales destroying marketing mistake is much more common than you may think.
10. Giving up on your prospects after just one or two follow-ups
Effective marketers know that persistence and repetition are vital for success.
The sale begins when the customer says "no." But too many real estate agents spend a great deal of time and money attracting prospects to their businesses and then either follow-up with them just once, or, as incredible as it may sound, never follow-up with them at all.
Successful people in sales know that most of the sales are made after the seventh or eighth call. Few are made after just one follow-up call.
Your prospects have many reasons for not buying from you immediately.
- They may not be ready to make a decision.
- They may have more pressing things on their minds.
- They may not feel comfortable enough with you, or trust you enough to buy right now.
- They may have more questions about your services, that haven't been answered.
- They may have information from you and 2-3 of your competitors and are trying to determine which company would be their best choice.
By following up repeatedly, you will have a dramatic advantage over your competitors, since few of them will follow up more than once. When your prospects are ready to buy, which could be one week from now, or six months from now, you will have a better chance of getting the sale if you are uppermost in their minds. You can only do that by consistently following up.
11. Changing your marketing strategy frequently
Henry Ford once told an ad executive from his advertising agency, "It's time for you to come up with a new ad campaign. We've been using this one for too long and I'm sure the public has to be bored to death with it." Ford was reportedly miffed to hear, "But sir, we haven't even started running this campaign yet. The public has never seen it." Having seen the campaign presentations dozens of times, he was bored with it. He wanted to see something new and different.
You should never, never stop using something that is still working, because you, your employees or your friends are bored with it. In successful and profitable marketing you should only be listening to your customers since they vote with dollars rather than opinions.
12.Expecting word-of-mouth referrals to come your way… just by chance
Word-of-mouth referrals are an extremely important element of any business's marketing success. But most real estate agents are making a big marketing mistake by believing that those referrals will come automatically.
It's true that if you provide good service, you will probably get some word-of-mouth referrals. But to generate an abundance and highly profitable level of referrals takes more initiative and effort.
Unless someone comes to us and specifically asks for our recommendation of a good dentist, doctor, veterinarian, insurance agent or auto alarm specialist we are probably not going to actively promote these businesses to our friends and neighbors.
How often in any given year are you asked to recommend a good dentist or auto alarm specialist? The chances are… not very often, if at all. That's why expecting referrals to come to you… just by chance, is a fatal marketing mistake.
The most Fatal mistake of all…
13.Basing your marketing strategy on guesses, assumptions or advice from friends, relatives or business associates
Guessing at the elements of your marketing strategy is probably the worst way to invest your marketing budget. You are practically guaranteeing the same results you would achieve by guessing at the specific sequence of numbers needed to open a combination lock. Since each consecutive step is linked to the success of the previous step, one wrong guess destroys your chances for success.
Most people, including many real estate agents, mistakenly believe that marketing is more of an art than a science. Those of the marketing is art point of view believe that anyone's opinion concerning marketing is just as valid as anyone else's. In reality, marketing is very much a science with specific principles, rules and quantifiable results. Because of this marketing is art philosophy, most of what people believe about marketing is based on myths, not facts.
Show ten people two ads and ask them to select the one they think is the better ad. Nine out of ten will select the profit loser rather than the profit winner. Why? Because they are unaware of and don't recognize the marketing principles and strategies that make a powerful marketing piece a profit winner.
So they base their opinion instead on such vague, subjective criteria as cleverness, cuteness, different and artistic look, and the ads fun/pun appeal. These criteria rarely have anything to do with generating maximum response but they have everything to do with wasting your marketing investment and destroying your potential sales.
The best way to develop a successful and profitable marketing strategy is to use the knowledge, experience and skills of someone who has already discovered the marketing approaches that do work as well as the approaches that don't work. These discoveries should always be based on measurable results from objective tests… never subjective opinions or assumptions.
Joe Gracia Visit Joe and Maria Gracia's Web site, http://www.givetogetmarketing.com to receive a free Marketing Idea-Kit, plus hundreds of marketing tips and real-world marketing examples.