First, of course, is the business card. This, I believe should include your photo. Many disagree, saying they're professionals and other professionals don't include their photos.
No, doctors and lawyers don't. But they don't use their cards as a marketing device. Real estate agents do. Smart agents hand their cards to people they meet at networking events, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and social events. These may be people who will forget their names, but remember their faces.
Next, your business card should include a tag line that indicates your niche. If you specialize in condos, or lakefront properties, or suburban mini-ranches, your card should offer that information.
Next, every buyer's agent should have a website. It should show that you are a professional who serves buyers - and should, again, reveal your niche market.
The articles you include should all be geared toward buyers - and your web copy should emphasize the things you do to help people find the right home.
Because the #1 complaint about real estate agents is lack of communication, you should let those potential buyers know that you won't let them miss the home of their dreams.
One page you should include is "Why Choose a Buyer's Agent?" - because so many prospective clients don't understand the concept of buyer's agency. Here you can emphasize the benefit of having a professional working only for them, and you can stress both your negotiation skills and your dedication to the kind of follow-through that leads to a successful purchase.
Your website should also include an "about me" page that really is about you. Not just about your designations or your successes in real estate - but about who you are as a person.
Trust is a huge issue today, and your about me page can help you establish trust with buyers before you ever meet them. When you reveal that you're active with local non-profits, or coach a kids' ball team, or love to go hiking with your dogs, you're showing them that you're a real person they can relate to. Often, those tidbits will show them that you are "like them" in some way, and that's an instant path to trust.
Mentioning former careers is another way to form a connection and help your buyers find reasons to trust you.
Be sure to talk about how long you've been in the community - and what that means to them.
When you let your readers know that you've lived there since childhood - or that you explored every nook and cranny when you moved there 2 years ago - you show them that you really know the area and can answer their questions.
A personal brochure that repeats the information on your about me page is next on the list - because it's something you can hand to people. But if you're trimming your budget, you can get by without it.
As for pens, notebooks, calendars, and other give-away items... they're nice, but you don't really need them.
Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter who specializes in writing for real estate and related industries.
She'll help you with one letter, or an entire marketing plan. For busy agents on a budget, Marte offers pre-written letter sets for use in postal mail or in e-mail continuity campaigns. Visit her at http://www.copybymarte.com