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Welcome to Placester’s 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

Day 1: Your Target Customer
Day 2: Getting Leads to Your Website
Day 3: Attracting Leads with Your Brand
Day 4: What Leads Want in Exchange for Their Info
Day 5: Designing Your Website to Convert Leads
Day 6: Motivating Leads to Take Action on Your Website
Day 7: Personalizing Your Marketing with Facebook and Email
Day 8: Identifying & Ranking Your Top Leads
Day 9: Nurturing Your Top Leads
Day 10: Reaching Your Goals

Day 1 – Your Target Customer

Welcome to Day 1 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing course!

As a reminder, each agent action is designed to take an hour or less. If you’re feeling inspired to go further, feel free to do the extra exercises.

Today’s course is about identifying your target customer. Why? Before you can develop marketing that attracts anyone, you need to know who they are and what they’re actually attracted to.

Without these really important steps, you’re basically sending out a signal that’s not specific to anyone and hoping it sticks (which doesn’t ensure you’ll reach your goals).

Today’s Agent Action is split into two steps, so make sure you read until the end:

Step One: Define your target customer.

Step Two: Find out the issues they care most about.

Let’s get started!

When agents think of customer personas, they likely think of them simply (buyers or sellers) or overthink them (as every individual client they’ve ever had). Neither of these approaches will help you build a strategy. But there’s a way to easily find out what your personas are.

For experienced agents: Consider the trends you saw in the last year or two with the leads and clients you worked with. What were their demographics, spending potential, what types of properties were they looking for or selling, what are their challenges, who closed and who didn’t?

For new and experienced agents: It’s time to look at the market. What are the trends in your market each quarter and year for the last few years? What types of clients are most prone to search in your area and what is the inventory like? Are their new cultural outlets opening up in the area or new transportation opportunities that will drive certain types of leads?

Now, you’re starting to think. Great. Let’s put this into action.

Agent Action Step 1: Do This Now

  • With the information above and your lead and client list, choose 2-3 customer personas (ex. First-time condo buyer)
  • For a quick-hit list, create 5 characteristics for their story: For example, what is their spending potential, what they are seeking in a property, what they are seeking in a neighborhood, etc. (Personas can have many characteristics, so expand on this as much as you like.)
  • For each persona you’ve created, write 4 goals. This is what they want — the things leads and clients don’t typically say off the bat but are important. Are they a growing family who wants to have proximity to great schools, or are they a young couple that’s looking for great theaters nearby?
  • For each persona, write down their top four problems. This could be bad experiences they’ve had in the past or challenges, like handling savings or deciding whether to prioritize space or proximity to the downtown area.

Remember, this step is NOT just for new agents. For experienced agents who have been working in the field for a while, consider a couple of things:

  • Have you been getting the target customers you want, or is your lead management system filled with a variety of leads that don’t have a strong connection to your specialty?
  • Your goals change, the market changes, etc. Each year it’s important to revisit your personas to see where you can improve.
  • Are there areas where you want to expand your reach? Revisiting your personas will help. You’ll benefit from finding core niches you can win, or new niches you haven’t worked with before but are willing to now.

Spend 30 minutes.

Now that you have a sense of your target personas, it’s time to figure out what they’re searching.

While it’s great that your brand name is everywhere, it’s not likely that people will open up Google and directly type your name. Instead, they’re searching for their needs — that is, their goals and pain points (and how convenient you’ve already listed some in the exercise above!).

Search engines consider these short queries as keywords. They help users find the websites and content that’s most useful to them. And because over 90% of real estate searches start online, these phrases are important for them to connect with you.

When most agents think of keyword research, it doesn’t sound very appealing. In fact, it sounds like a lot of work that’s out of their realm of expertise. But, in reality, it’s not.

Think of it as a great way to predict your leads’ needs before they even know what they need.

For today’s course, we’re going to focus on two ways you can start to identify what your best keywords are. Even if you’ve done this in the past, it’s recommended that you update these regularly, and there’s no better time than at the start of the year when you’re planning out your full strategy.

Before you begin, it’s important to start thinking strategically with your keywords. There’s a big difference between primary keywords (very short, non-specific phrases) and long-tail ones (very long, very specific phrases). Many agents might consider this style of keyword: “Realtor in New York City.” The assumption is that it’s got a lot of searches and is a popular phrase. That also means there’s high competition to rank for those keywords, making it harder to stand out.

Smart consumers who search this will realize that their search isn’t specific enough and they’ll start to narrow that search over time with more key phrases to get what they need. Someone who specializes in the Lower East Side or Brooklyn, someone who specializes in brownstones or a condo, or near a specific park or waterway.

This is why long-tail keywords work: the more focused your lead is, the more targeted they are for your business.

Agent Action Step 2: Do This Now

  • Come up with a list of 5 long-tail keywords about your area, based on just what you know. To create long-tail keywords, try to find phrases that are more than 5 words, focus on specific location information, and also list property specifics. Conversations with your leads and clients inform what keywords they’re searching. Your keywords can also be focused on advice. Are there questions that constantly come up with your leads over and over? Are they seeking out help with understanding the buying process? Are they wondering how to save for their first vacation home? If you spend significant time answering the same questions over and over, these are keywords you’ll want to add to your list as well.
  • Now, open a new window, go to Google, and start searching these keywords. As you do, write down the suggestions Google offers you. Then, hit search on each of your original 5 and then scroll down to the bottom. Google will have more suggestions there. Write those down too.
  • Use Google AdWords’ free Keyword Planner. (If you don’t have an account already, it’s easy to sign up for one.) In the Keyword Planner tool, type your top keyword ideas. You can refine your results by choosing a product category (“Real Estate,” in this case), or by adjusting your “keyword options” to include only closely related ideas. You can also filter your results according to location and language in the “Targeting” section. After hitting Search, you’ll see a list of suggested keywords, which can be ranked according to relevance, competitiveness (High, Medium, Low), average monthly searches, or Google’s suggested bid. You may find that your initial term is too competitive and too broad, or that no one is searching it at all. Use the Keyword Planner’s suggestions to make a list of keywords that strike a comfortable balance between popularity and competition.

This step can get a little confusing. Download The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Keyword Research for step-by-step instructions on how to use the Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and other tools like Google Trends and more.

Spend 30 minutes.

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Find your special niche.

Do you know that owning a niche can save you time and money on marketing? Follow the steps in The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Niche Marketing and find two niches you want to conquer the rest of 2017.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Investigate competing agents’ SEO.

See how your competition is using keywords and ranking (see: 16 Clever Tools to Help You Spy on Real Estate Agent Competitors), and start using those tools to research how you stack up against other great agent marketers.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 2.

 

Day 2 – Getting Leads to Your Website

Welcome to Day 2 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

Yesterday we tackled two key factors of the marketing planning process: your target customer and what they’re searching for. Both of these steps are vitally important for today’s step — attracting traffic.

Now that you know who you’re talking to and what they want to see, it’s time to leverage that insight to actually get them to your website. How do you do that? By providing the content they want to see.

Content comes in many forms, but for today we’re going to focus on two of the most critical pieces of creating content. So again, today’s Agent Action has two steps.

Step One: Create a blog post.

Step Two: Optimize your article.

Even if you’ve created these before, we’re reviewing some tactics that show you how EASY it can be to create content, and how to optimize to make sure you’re attracting the right readers.

In real estate, blogging probably gets the worst reputation. It takes time to create content and it takes a longer time to yield results than some other marketing activities. So why are we focusing on it today? Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but generates more than three times as many leads, cements you as a thought leader with the knowledge to help leads reach their goals, and provides you with more educated leads to nurture. It’s important to have a really strong organic lead generation strategy.

Today, we’re going to disprove two major barriers of content creation: that you need a lot of writing experience/natural creativity and that you need a lot of time. And in the process, you’re going to write a blog of your own (really!)

The most successful agent bloggers are not experienced journalists or award-winning authors. They’re simply people who put their knowledge to paper. It’s really that simple. If you’re talking to leads every day and providing insight about the buying or selling process or your market, you already have the knowledge you need to blog. Trust it.

Agent Action Step One: Do This Now

Here are the core steps to follow to get going with your blogging today:

  • What’s the topic you want to write about? Hint: Pick one topic from your list of keywords, goals, or paint points from yesterday, or choose something you’ve been wanting to write about.
  • How does this topic help your leads and clients?
  • What’s the goal of my post? By the end of this post, I want my reader to know/be able to ____________.
  • What do you already know about this topic? Put down as much knowledge here as you can.
  • What more do I need to learn about this topic? Write 1-2 things you’d like to add that you’ll research later.
  • What relevant keyword terms will I use? Pick from the list you generated yesterday.
  • What visuals will I use for my post? Will I include a download? Remember, you don’t have to actually have this right away, you’re just planning for what you’ll need.
  • What’s your post’s title? Choose a title that is eye-catching and relevant, but also includes a relevant keyword phrase so leads will be drawn to it.

Give yourself 30 minutes max.

After 30 minutes, with mostly the knowledge you already have on hand, you have strong bones for a blog post. Giving yourself a bit more time to add links, visuals, and to edit and organize your post means that within just an hour you can provide content that will last on your site for a very long time and continually attract targeted leads.

Want more great blogging ideas? See our list of 101 Amazing Blog Post Ideas For Your Real Estate Website. You’ll see that blog posts come in many forms. Want to increase your blogging efficiency? Learn more about our 12-step blog writing process here.

Agent Action Step Two: Do This Now

Yesterday, you picked your top keywords phrases based on research. Keywords not only inspire the content you create, but using them strategically helps you set a great foundation for search engine optimization (SEO) for your real estate website.

If you create well-optimized content, you have a higher likelihood of ranking in search engines for the terms your leads are searching, bringing them right to your site.

The secret to using keywords is quality, not quantity. Many people assume that you take your top keywords and just sprinkle them over and over throughout your posts. This will not only annoy your readers, but it could hurt your page rank.

First step: Pick 3-4 keywords that relate to the subject (variety is your friend with SEO)

Use them strategically: Search engines will typically scan the title of the post, the page’s URL, the metadata, and the content itself (including images). Make sure you follow the steps to optimize your blog post the right way.

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Create area and community pages.

Your website’s blog isn’t the only place on your site that can host great content. Some of the top drivers of traffic, when done well, are area and community pages. These are pages that live on your site and that show the current state of what it’s like in the community you’re showcasing.

What’s the difference?

With area pages, focus on where the housing action is most prevalent. These are market stats, descriptions of neighborhoods and market data of homes and sales, employment and education statistics, etc.

With community pages, it’s all about your market’s culture and lifestyle. What activities and businesses are in the area that provide food and fun?

Yes, most of this can be found in different places online, but if you’re able to compile this information in one place, develop it with your voice, and optimize it with relevant key phrases, you’ll create the prime destination for leads. Your challenge: Create your own. Visit our post to learn how.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Try video marketing.

Feel comfortable with blogging? It’s time to go further with video marketing, one of the fastest growing marketing tactics in real estate. Whether it’s property tours that look like movies or videos where you’re imparting the latest home buying advice, creating video can mean big return on investment for attracting leads. Download: 12 Essential Real Estate Videos for Your Online Marketing.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 3.

Day 3 – Attracting Leads with Your Brand

Welcome to Day 3 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course.

This course is designed to push you out of your comfort zone. If you’re completing the tasks each day, you’ll see a vast improvement on your marketing by the end.

We’ve already tackled identifying your target customer and creating content that fits their needs to drive targeted leads to your real estate website. Now, we’re going to talk about how to showcase your brand publicly to drive the type of leads you want.

What is your brand and how is that different from your role as an agent? Well, to put it simply, there are thousands of agents, but only one you. Many agents can specialize in selling or buying or condos or single-family rural homes, but if you simply rely on those features to brand yourself, you’ll be virtually indistinguishable from the next agent who does something very similar.

What does this have to do with attracting leads? A great personal brand helps you stand out from the competition, and helps you make a deeper connection with leads and clients.

It’s so important that Placester VP of Industry Relations Seth Price developed a beautiful infographic outlining the 26 elements of a great personal brand focused on this very idea. He emphasizes that you have a personal brand whether you like it or not — either you’re driving it or you’re letting other people create it for you

It’s time to take control of yours. There are many, many ways to showcase a personal brand, but to get you started we’re going to focus on 2 ways to showcase yours: your agent bio and your social media sharing.

Today’s Action Action has 2 steps:

Step One: Showcasing your brand in your bio

Step Two: Creating social sharing that honors your brand

 

Agent Action Step One: Do This Now

It can be hard to just come up with a brand. Because it’s so personal to you, no one can tell you exactly what to do. Today, you’re going to create a draft of your new agent bio.

Yes, you likely already have an agent bio. It likely has the usual information about your experience, which is a great start. But remember, a brand is what you have that other agents don’t, and awards and credentials are just the baseline. How can you go further?

Pull out a pen and paper or a new blank document and answer these questions.

  • Why would a lead trust you to sell their property? Why would a lead trust you to lead them through the buying process? Remember, trust isn’t just about your experience, but also about your knowledge and savvy as an agent.
  • What value do you offer that no one else can?
  • What is your best personality feature? Are you funny and creative or more soft-spoken and personal? If you were being voted on in a yearbook, your peers would consider you most likely to _______? Play into your natural strengths.
  • How would you like to be remembered? First impressions are often lasting ones. When a lead encounters your brand, what is the one main thing you want to them to remember about you?
  • Are there any short phrases that would work well to convey your value as an agent?
  • What types of properties or clients are you working with? You don’t want to alienate your audience, so keep track of some of the characteristics that you have that they would appreciate.

Then, add these details to your agent bio. To find out how, see these 10 Knockout Examples by other agents.

Give yourself 15 minutes max.

Agent Action Step Two: Do This Now

Pick one topic that you really care about that’s relevant to your brand and create a social brand story for it.

The possibilities are endless really. For example, let’s say you’re a young agent who managed to chart their own way into success and wants to help millennials understand the benefits of investment in property ownership over renting. You want to speak to the concerns of that target customer while showcasing your own personal journey.

  • You might create a YouTube video that targets Millennial buyers, all about ways to create a great culture in their target area by setting down roots.
  • You can host a Millennial conversation live on Twitter about homeownership questions.
  • You can create an infographic detailing a side-by-side breakdown of the costs of renting vs. owning and post it to Pinterest and Instagram.
  • You can develop a live session on Snapchat or Facebook describing your journey to home ownership.

Now…

  • Identify a core issue related to your brand.
  • Pick any 3 social platforms you love. Why 3? It’s better to focus on a few you can win rather than burning yourself out trying to produce for everyone. Remember to think about where your leads are most active.
  • Brainstorm 1 related social post for the 3 platforms, but try to customize them to what works for each platform.

Remember, these are just drafts. You can improve upon them later, but the point is to create 3 social media post drafts very quickly.

When you do develop them further, see our roundup of 50 Graphic Design Resources for Your Real Estate Branding.

BONUS EXERCISE: Master social media.

Each social media platform has its own personality, and your bio should reflect that. Read this article to find out how to take your main bio and transfer it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.

Not all of your social sharing has to be purely original content. You can still be a thought leader by sharing content that already exists. Follow 5 new accounts that you can draw inspiration from. Find great real estate content that’s relevant to your brand. Sign up for a minimum of 3 content curation tools from our list of 16 Tools For Finding Great Real Estate Blog Content. Start pinpointing new content to add to your circulation.

Find out what to post where and the best times to post on each social channel, and download our free social media scheduler.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 4.

Day 4 – What Leads Want in Exchange for Their Info

Welcome to Day 4 of our 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

By now you’ve had a chance to build out some great content to use both on your site and in your marketing. These are great ways to get leads to your real estate website. But what happens when they get there?

Most agents get much more traffic than they do leads. While there will always be website visitors who won’t convert, many times this happens because agents don’t give their visitors enough opportunities to raise their hands to express interest.

Generally, agents will have their contact information and ‘contact me’ forms sprinkled throughout their site (we’ll get more into how these operate tomorrow).

But really, how does a lead KNOW they want to contact you if this is the first or even second time they’re visiting your site? Most real estate consumers do tons of research online way before they ever contact an agent … but there are surefire ways to shorten that time and make sure you’re the agent they connect with.

Today’s Agent Action is all about developing specific content pages for your site that leads will want to get in exchange for info. By giving leads quality information, you’re more likely to get them excited about handing over their email and phone number.

As usual, today’s Agent Action has two steps:

Step One: Create enticing content pages on your site

Step Two: Optimize those pages

 

Agent Action Step One: Do This Now

Create at least 2 of the following pages on your real estate website right now.

Buyer & Seller Pages: One of the best ways to gather lead information is through free downloadable content. The trick here is that the content has to be worthy of a download, meaning in-depth, informative, long-form. (You probably wouldn’t gate a blog post, for example, and expect someone’s information).

Consumers love guides that help them through the home buying or selling process, and we created some great free downloadable guides that you can customize with your brand and offer to your website visitors.

Get the buyer’s guide >

Get the seller’s guide >

Remember to provide the guide after the lead has filled out the form. You can email it personally to them to download directly. Connect the lead capture form to your lead management program so you can keep track of that lead’s activity in the future.

Email Newsletter Sign-Up Page: Many leads aren’t expecting or even craving a conversation right away. Some may still be “cold” leads just starting their home search journeys. Newsletters are a great way to add value and stay top of mind without having to confront leads with sales conversations before they’re ready. Having a dedicated sign-up page is a great way to get more contacts in your lead base. Don’t have a newsletter live yet? Read this article to find out how to create great ones.

Special Reports or Property Detail Pages: Most content won’t incentivize leads to want to provide their information, but some will. Have a special market report that leads should see about the inventory, business, or schools in the area? Do you have any special ebooks or infographics that are full of helpful info? Have an exclusive competitive listing with an in-depth property details page? These are great opportunities to get lead information. Create a new page for each one and add a lead capture form.

Testimonial Pages: One of the easiest ways to boast about your value as an agent is to let other people do it for you. Research shows that consumers are more likely to believe feedback from their peers, and that’s why it’s essential to have a page dedicated to great client feedback. Placing a lead capture form on this page makes the transition to speaking with you that much easier.

If you don’t yet have testimonials, we highly suggest you start collecting them ASAP. Create a draft of this page on your website so you can update it after you’ve collected some. Don’t miss this article: How to Get Real Estate Testimonials: Techniques and Tools for Agents.

Give yourself 40 minutes max.

Agent Action Step Two: Do This Now

Because consumers won’t have a chance to actually preview the valuable content before they provide their information, you must “sell” the content. Here’s how.

For each page above that you create today, do the following:

1. Explain the value of your asset. Write 1-2 valuable insights your lead will gain by accessing this document.

2. Develop a strong CTA that helps get users excited about hitting submit on that form. Think phrases like “Get Your Home’s Worth” or “Solve All Your Buyer Questions.” If it’s a newsletter, describe what the person can expect to gain by signing up.

3. Remember your personas! You already created target customer personas, and now it’s time to use that information to help sell your content. Use one pain point and 2 top keywords that are relevant to your content pages to show how this asset will benefit them.

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Create a home valuation page.

Leads will always have an interest in the current market value of their home, and it’s important to develop a place on your site where they can get that information. It not only keeps them engaged and helps collects their information, but it also positions you as an agent who’s well-versed in the market.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Simplify your website’s top navigation.

It’s helpful to develop these pages, but unless they’re easily located on your site, they won’t get the traffic you need to make them worthwhile. Make sure your most important pages are easily findable in the top navigation, and over time remove any low-performing pages that aren’t of interest to your website visitors.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 5.

Day 5 – Designing Your Website to Convert Leads

Welcome to Day 5 of our 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

Yesterday, we introduced a few types of content that will drive lead capture on your site. Setting these up is an important step because they provide critical reasons for a lead to exchange their information and express further interest. The extra exercise also discussed ways to make your website’s top site navigation clear and easy to use to find that content.

Today’s Agent Action focuses on optimizing your website with more content pages and it has two steps:

Step One: Get the lead-generating pages walkthrough

Step Two: Create two pages you haven’t tried before

 

Agent Action Step One: Do This Now

As mentioned briefly yesterday, great content pages give website visitors more opportunities to get in touch with you. We covered a few different types of content pages you can create, but that’s only scratching the surface.

You can create pages for leads to request consultations or sign up for live events, and more. The point is to get creative with ways to get leads to provide their information and our newest video covers some of the top-converting pages you can create, and your first Agent Action is to watch it.

Right now, watch 10 Lead-Generating Pages to Create for Your Real Estate Website >

Agent Action Step Two: Do This Now

Then, create 2 new pages on your website today that you have never tried before to encourage leads to get in touch with you. With two, we’ve made it simple enough to execute within about 20 minutes.

We want you to try new content pages you haven’t tried before because innovation is a hallmark of great marketing. If you continually produce the same pages, you won’t push further this year in your marketing. Think about services, content, and other pieces of value you can offer your leads that will make them want to get in touch with you!

Just like you did yesterday, for each page above that you create today, do the following:

1. Explain the value of your asset or service. Write 1-2 valuable insights your lead will gain by providing their information.

2. Develop a strong CTA that helps get users excited about hitting submit on that form. Think: “Get my expertise in person!”

3. Remember your personas! You already created target customer personas, and now it’s time to use that information to help sell your content. Use one pain point and 2 top keywords that are relevant to your content pages to show how this asset will benefit them.

BONUS EXERCISE: Use Google Analytics to find your best content.

Struggling to see what types of content your leads are looking for? Use your website’s data to identify the most popular pages on your site. These are really important in developing your focus, because you’ll see first-hand what users are most interested in, and that can fuel ideas for new pages and content across your site. If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics to your site so you can start tracking what’s happening. Focus on areas of time on page, most visited pages, and sources of how they got to those pages.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Monday, Day 6!

Day 6 – Motivating Leads to Take Action on Your Website

Welcome to Day 6 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

Up to this point in the course we’ve focused on leveraging great content pages to drive leads to your website and keep them there. And we’ve explored the content pages that work best for conversion.

But to actually start a conversation, you need to capture their information, and that’s where smart lead capture forms come in.

You likely have lead capture forms on your site. But do you have a strategy for what types of forms you’re using on each page, and are you tracking how these forms are performing? Probably not. In 2017, the goal is to monitor these each quarter to assess performance and to make improvements.

To start, there are a few types you can use, and how they’re used will vary depending on your content and the needs of your leads.

Passive Lead Capture: A contact form on the page that accompanies the content. This is much more of a soft sell but can be very useful when paired with testimonial pages, bio pages, or advertising home valuations.

Active Lead Capture: This form appears as a pop-up that prompts a visitor to provide their information before seeing the full content on the page. This is extremely useful on special property listings pages or search results.

Custom Lead Capture: This option within our platform, for example, allows you to control when your site offers a visitor a pop-up after certain behaviors. This could mean when that user has visited your site a number of times, has remained on your site for a particular time frame, has viewed a particular number of pages or types of pages, etc.

(Note that each website provider has their own functionality and access to the forms described above. Active and Custom lead capture, for example, may cost more because they convert more targeted leads. The pages described above are available for different programs within the Placester platform. Click here to learn more about our platform’s lead capture capabilities.)

Agent Action: Do This Now

Today’s Agent Action requires you to catalogue all your forms. Based on the technology you’re using, these forms will look different within each platform, so use what information you have available to follow these steps. Today, we’re simply going to help you map out which types of forms you want to use on which pages.

1. Open a document or spreadsheet and name the document or tab “Lead Capture Forms Quarter 1 2017.” Write down in one column all of your important website pages.

2. Next to each page, catalogue what type of form you’ll be using there. Because active lead capture forms tend to convert at a higher rate, try to have at least 1/3 of your forms be active — making sure they are paired with content that leads would find really valuable. Again, you likely would not put an active form before a blog post that will drive lots of organic traffic, but you might have it on a local buyer’s guide.

3. Brainstorm new great value propositions and calls to action (CTAs). In the next column, write down the copy you’ll use on each form and any copy you’ll use on the page to encourage users to fill the form out. Consider principles of writing enticing copy:

  • Use action verbs, and experiment with “I” and “you” perspectives
  • Appeal to an emotion and/or sense
  • Offer a benefit to a need, pain point, or desire — speak to your target persona
  • Be concise, so the user can make a quick decision about filling out the form

4. Now, go back into your site and update your forms and the copy on them.

At the beginning of quarter 2 of this year, it will be time for you to look at the performance on each of these pages and their respective forms. Are you getting lots of traffic to a page but few conversions? It may be time to update the content or the form to be more active. Is your active form getting no conversions? It may be time to update the copy or change it to a passive form. Using your analytics on those pages will help you understand what’s working and what’s not over time.

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Offer better search features.

It should go without saying, but we’ll reiterate it here. You must have a mobile-friendly, responsive website that’s easy to use. All of the tactics that we’re using here today will not do you any good if your site is hard to use. And because most consumers use their mobile devices multiple times per day, you can bet there’s a huge chance that’s how they’re viewing your site.

The next phase of this is how well the search features allow them to find what they need. Having additional search features like map search gives them a sense of proximity to other areas as they search.

Using natural language search on your site can offer an easier, more intuitive way for them to find the home criteria they’re looking for.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Develop IDX pages.

Do you have target customers that are overwhelmingly interested in a certain price range and bedroom amount and neighborhood? Or perhaps a particular property type within a zip code that has a certain number of baths?

When you start to notice search trends that are refined but craved by many of your leads, or are perhaps driven by the inventory in your market, it’s really good practice to develop IDX Pages.

IDX pages create a search page that is narrowed down to just the criteria you have selected.

These make it easier for your leads to find the properties they want because you’ve already filtered the search to highlight the properties they’re most likely to be interested in. This increases the likelihood that they’ll reach out to find out more information about a particular listing or search.

Do This Now: Brainstorm 2 major IDX Pages for your audience, focusing on a few different filters for each that represent a large interest area for your target clients.

This is an extra exercise because this feature is not always readily available through every website provider. To see more about how IDX Pages work and how you can implement them on a website, watch our video “IDX Pages: Create Curated Search Experiences That Highlight Your Area.”

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 7!

Day 7 – Personalizing Your Marketing with Facebook and Email

Welcome to Day 7 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

We’ve talked so far about identifying your audience and driving them to your website. This is an essential way to begin the connection with important leads, but it would be a stretch to assume that leads would return to your website every day without a hook. What do we mean by that?

Leads are busy. They need reasons to stay engaged, to keep you at the forefront of their minds, and to be guided through the process.

Today’s Agent Action is about putting a human face to your marketing and being a resource that meets leads where they’re at. And where are they most? On their phones, checking email and social media. So today we’ll tackle two of these areas that matter.

Today’s Action Action has 2 steps:

Step One: Optimize Your Facebook Page

Step Two: Create an Engaging Newsletter

 

Agent Action One: Do This Now

Facebook marketing opens your marketing to a robust lead pool of over 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users, the majority of whom spend an average of 20 minutes on the platform.

Your task today is to start using your Facebook page as a solid marketing tool, rather than just a social tool.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, but you need to make strategic choices to engage your audience. (If you haven’t started your Facebook Business Page, go here to set it up).

Brand Your Page

Facebook gives you space next to your photo to add in a name and title. This area should clearly convey your brand name and role. Some real estate professionals choose to add their company, location, etc. and that’s fine too. Choose the most relevant terms so users can recognize you and your profession easily.

Pick 4 keywords to use across your Facebook page.

SEO isn’t just for your real estate website. Remember the target SEO keywords you built for your website? Using them on your Facebook page’s descriptions also allows your Facebook page to be found for relevant search terms.

That means using relevant terms in your About Section and throughout your profile. Use the same discretion here that you would with your blog posts — pick a few terms and use them a few times, but don’t overwhelm your page by being too keyword heavy.

Attract former clients to your ‘Reviews’ section.

Positive real estate reviews help you leverage customer satisfaction to build trust with leads and convert them into clients, and are also very helpful for SEO visibility.

Today, reach out to leads and clients to ask if they’d consider adding a review to this section. Proactively stocking this area with your best client feedback with bolster your brand’s image on the site (because leads will absolutely be looking at your Facebook presence).

Customize the Call to Action button.

Did you know that Facebook offers you a prominent CTA button on your Facebook Page? This appears on the bottom right corner under your cover image, and provides another option for users to interact with your brand.

We encourage you to find out what fits best for you. Do you want to encourage more likes, get users to sign up for your newsletter (more on that below), or secure a consultation? See more about your options and try out different uses for this prominent button.

Brainstorm a new cover image.

Your Facebook cover image is the most noticeable element on your brand’s page, so it’s important that it rotates consistently and reflects your broader marketing. Agents use this space for many things, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Focus on what you stand for by highlighting your personal brand story
  • Showcase a beautiful listing preview
  • Offer a park, mountain view, or seascape that represents your area
  • Highlight your motto, a quote, or a branded hashtag

For more ways to improve your Facebook marketing, check out Optimize Your Real Estate Facebook for Business Page to Grow Your Brand and use these graphic resources to help you build images.

Give yourself 25 minutes max.

Agent Action Two: Do This Now

Newsletters are a perfect way to put a personal touch to your marketing, because you can offer great value without putting leads on the spot to make decisions. You can get the word out about listings, services, recently published blog posts, etc.

When done well, email is one of the most effective means of engaging leads and driving them to your real estate website. Even though newsletters are amazing marketing tools for staying connected with leads, few agents make them a priority. Resolve to change that in 2017.

Great newsletters are driven by great content, first and foremost. If you can be a great resource for your leads and clients, that’s what matters. Sure, eye-catching newsletters can certainly increase engagement, but value and professionalism are key.

Just because you don’t have the most beautiful template off the bat or understand how to create your own graphics does not mean you should hold off creating a newsletter. Your newsletter can grow with your marketing as you become more savvy.

Create a rough draft of your newsletter by picking 4 topic areas from our list of 42 Engaging Real Estate Newsletter Ideas.

For each topic area, develop a short headline, small amount of copy (don’t forget to say why this resource is critical for them to read), and a link to the resource (preferably something on your site, but it could also be helpful content from other sites). Then, develop the rest of your newsletter. Make sure it has the following:

  • Recognizable ‘from’ name (your personal name or brand name, and email)
  • Captivating subject line that highlights the best part of your content
  • Valuable content (adding images is a plus)
  • Strong calls to action (CTA) for each topic area that encourages your reader to click

Then, schedule a day for yourself to send your newsletter out this week. You should strive to maintain a regular schedule with your email sends, but once a week, every 2 weeks, or a month is a great start to engaging leads this year. Start with what you can sustain and increase it from there.

If you’re already a regular newsletter sender, it’s time to look at new topic areas from our list above, update your subject lines to get better open rates, or see how you can get more subscribers for your real estate newsletter (have you tried advertising it in your email signature or using your Facebook page?).

For those just starting out their newsletter, check out these 12 Best Real Estate Newsletter Template Resources that can be helpful in developing visual newsletters.

Give yourself 20 minutes max.

BONUS EXERCISE: Start a new Facebook ad campaign.

Facebook’s advertising allows you to target audiences with direct value to shorten the cycle of them becoming contacts, leads, and clients. The platform allows you to choose your audience, then your advertising type, set budgets, and track your results easily.

For today’s step, your task is to do the following:

  • Pick a campaign. What will you be advertising? Are you focused on a listing ad, a generic brand ad, a home valuation ad, or advertising a buyer’s guide?
  • Pick an ad objective. Facebook offers different objectives for what you’re trying to achieve. Some examples are brand awareness, clicks to your website, lead generation, local awareness, page likes, page post engagement, video views, etc. Think about what’s most important for your ad and experiment with a few types to see what works for you.
  • Choose your custom audience. Early in our course, you developed your target customer personas. It’s great that you have these on hand because they’ll prove useful in your Facebook ad audiences. Use the various details they have available to narrow your list to smartly show your ads to the users who are most apt to fit your persona, in age, location, job title, income, etc.
  • Develop some advertising creative. Note that Facebook has its own guidelines for ads based on what type of ad you’re creating.

To get more information on creating Facebook ad campaigns, download our new ebook, “Accelerating Your Real Estate Lead Generation with Facebook Advertising.”

For agents who have active Facebook advertising campaigns running*

If you’re currently using Facebook advertising to attract buyers and sellers to your real estate websites, you can leverage a pixel that will allow you to remarket to these same leads.

Remarketing allows you to show ads to people on Facebook who have visited your website in the past. If a user visited your site but exited without filling out a contact form, the Facebook pixel follows the person back to Facebook so that your website ads will pop up for that specific lead. Learn how to install the Facebook Pixel on your Placester site.

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 8!

Day 8 – Identifying & Ranking Your Top Leads

Welcome to Day 8 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

We’ve shown you the many ways to attract leads to your website and how to get their attention and trust to provide you with their information. Once they have reached out, it’s important you follow up quickly and easily. But before you can reach out, you need to know who’s worth reaching out to.

Let’s visit a common scenario most agents experience: If you’ve done the other tasks right in this course, your site captures a series of leads and they funnel into your chosen lead management system. You grab your coffee for the day and open up your lead list. You see a stream of contacts from a variety of sources and, phone in hand, prep to make your calls for the day.

Who do you call first, and why? Do you have a system in place that gives you a hint of who’s most important to contact first? Most agents don’t, which can lead to lots of lost time and effort, and leave you feeling seriously overwhelmed.

Every agent deserves a system for clearly identifying who should be contacted immediately and who needs a longer communication approach.

Today’s Agent Action has 2 steps:

Step One: Segment Your Leads

Step Two: Score Your Leads

 

Agent Action One: Do This Now

Most agents get leads who are interested in a variety of things. Segmenting allows you to sort through your large list and develop categories for your leads. In the Placester platform, for example, these are called ‘Type.’ This could mean segmenting based on home buyer leads, home seller leads, renters, and other.

This Agent Action requires you to go into your system right now: Assign each lead to one of these segment groups. (Again, the categories and process of doing this will depend on what system you’re currently using. If you’re using the Placester platform learn how to do this here.)

Give yourself 30 minutes max.

Agent Action Two: Do This Now

Now that you have solid groups to identify your leads, it’s time to prioritize them within those groups.

No two leads are the same, and that’s why successful agents use scoring to monitor which are the most valuable in their system. There are triggers that can let you know a lead’s level of interest, intent, and readiness so that you can effectively score them. While some of these factors are dependent upon your own market and lead base, here are some general guidelines that can help you with scoring:

“Hot” leads — May have recently filled out a form or provided you their contact information in some other manner; regularly visit your website or consume and engage with your content; respond to personal communications; are pre-approved and have a timeline in mind

“Warm” leads — May visit your website and have engaged with some content, but their timeline for a sale isn’t urgent; they may be pre-approved but not actively looking; respond occasionally to communications

“Cold” leads — Were once active but have since faltered in communications; are not pre-approved; have expressed interest in working with you in the future

For the leads who do fit into your target profiles, score them now based on their activity. Find a system that works for you, based on your lead management system, to score leads based on how ready they are to move forward.

In the Placester Leads platform we use Green, Yellow, and Red to signify values, and agents are given freedom to choose how they’d like to assign value to each of those colors.

Having a visual scoring trigger like this for your leads assures that you won’t run into the scenario we talked about at the beginning of this email. Instead, you’ll easily see that you have buyer leads with a “Green” and know immediately who to reach out to first that day. Then you can make your way down your scored list.

(Note that each lead management system will have their own scoring system, so work within those parameters to organize your lead prioritization. If you’re using Placester, this guide can help.)

Can’t attend? Register and we’ll send you the recording of the session to your email!

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Monitor your lead profiles and add in Notes.

How many times has your lead visited your site? What are they looking at? Did they favorite listings? Do they have saved searches? Hopefully, your lead management system offers Lead Activity Tracking so you can see what leads are doing on your site and how they’re interacting with your content and communications. A strong lead detail page will list out this activity, as well as if the lead has been contacted, when they were created in your system, and their original source.

To boost your lead scoring, it’s time to add in Notes to develop your lead’s profile even more. For every interaction you have with the lead, add in notes about their preferences, hesitations, schedule, etc. You may also notice they are visiting certain pages, and it’s important to take note of that so you can later tailor your communications and content to align with what your leads are already looking at.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Set aside time to segment and score weekly or monthly.

This information will change quickly, and often. Leads who were once off the grid may become more active as their needs escalate, while leads who were in constant communication may suddenly fall off the map. It’s important to watch your leads’ activities within each scoring category and adjust accordingly so you can focus on the right types of nurturing, or decide whether to pursue the lead at all.

Managing a team of agents? Segment for your team.

Segmenting and scoring helps you take into account the needs of both leads and the expertise of agents before assigning leads. When leads come in, take a step back to assess the quality and focus of the lead, and process the information from there to match them with the best agent for them. Read How to Assign Leads to Agents in Your Real Estate CRM Software. 

Good luck! We’ll see you on Day 9!

Day 9 – Nurturing Your Top Leads (Almost at the finish line!)

Welcome to Day 9 of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course!

You’re so close to the finish line of the course and we’re so glad you’ve stuck it out.

Recently, we covered ways to attach value to leads in your system based on their activities. Modern lead management systems that integrate with your website will deliver insights about your leads, like how many times they have visited your site, what pages and content they are looking at most, and if they’ve saved listings or searches.

Having lead activity data is critical for great follow-up, because it will make your communications stronger.

But, as we covered yesterday, you have many types of leads: hot, warm, and cold — who all have varying profiles, like buyer and seller, and different timelines, budgets, and expectations. Yesterday you segmented and scored these leads so you could identify who is primed for follow-up.

There are many ways to follow up with leads, but the most important factors of follow-up are timing and consistency. You, of course, want to reach out as soon as possible after you’ve collected a lead’s information, but what happens after that initial call or email? Nurturing is a process that happens over time, of course.

The most successful agents leverage email marketing to nurture their leads, mainly because it has one of the highest returns on investment of any marketing activity. Earlier in the course we discussed newsletters. Today, we are going to cover drip email marketing, and why it’s the best way to nurture leads.

Drip email marketing allows you to set a series of communications that nurture your leads actively through the process. The best benefits of drip marketing?

Personalization for your leads. What resonates with you more? An email from a random company that wants to sell you a product or an email relevant to the topics in this course? Humans connect with content that’s personal to them.

Data shows that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement and marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. Drip marketing allows you to create more targeted communications than what you can send in a general newsletter.

For example, if you have a series of first-time buyer leads, you can create a whole drip marketing series about saving for your first home and what they should know about the process.

Streamlined communications. Try writing a custom email to all of your leads every few days and keep track of where they are and what email they should receive next. Sounds like a headache in the making. With drip marketing, you can develop pathways based on the personas, segmentation, and scoring that YOU’VE ALREADY DONE within this course.

Saved time on nurturing. You create series of a few to several emails for buckets of leads and automate them to send on a schedule you think is appropriate. Sure, the initial building will take a bit of time to create, but then you can set these to run for a few weeks and monitor how they perform (and it sure beats creating new emails for every lead every week). The best part? Even though you’ve made these communications in advance for a number of leads, these targeted emails will feel custom and appropriately timed from your lead’s perspective.

Agent Action One: Do This Now

For today’s Agent Action, you are going to build the structure of a great email drip campaign.

For time’s sake, pick 1 lead type that you will focus on. Don’t pick a lead type that is rare, but one that represents a specific, large pool of your leads (for example: first-time owners seeking condos, luxury second-home buyers, or young families seeking to expand their home size).

Now, list out six major topics you want to walk them through for their stage of the funnel and their score. There are many ways to approach a drip, but here’s a great flow to work with today:

1 a goal of this persona

2 a question often asked by this persona

3 a pain point this persona may be experiencing

4 a question often asked by this persona

5 ways they can become more informed

6 ways you can help with the sales process

For each of these, come up with a topic and piece of content you can deliver for each drip email:

1 Appeal to their goals and how you’ve had lots of experience helping other leads achieve this goal. Show them successful recent customer case studies or homes you’ve recently sold and offer your expertise.

2 Leads are often confused and undereducated about the process, but don’t know the questions to ask. Take your experience and introduce answers to questions your leads may be thinking (or may not even know how to ask) and offer an article or download to help them understand it better.

3 Early on in this course you explored customer pain points. These are critical pieces of the process because these will be the things they care about solving most. Offer one or more, and how you can help them solve it.

4 Just like number 2 above, leads have many questions. Provide them answers they aren’t yet expecting.

5 There are many market reports, data infographics, ebooks, and guides that may be useful to your leads. Send a couple with explanations of why they’re important.

6 Follow up on your communications with ways you might be able to help and asking if they may have additional questions.

Give yourself 20 minutes max.

Agent Action Two: Do This Now

For each idea above right now, create each email. Before you get bogged down with technology, it’s important to just get started on the actual content. Starting drafts in a document will help you simply cut and paste into your drip marketing system when it’s time.

For each email remember to:

  • Use an enticing subject line that appeals to what your leads care about
  • Personalize it with their name and characteristics about them that will make it feel as though these communications are for their needs, not for a generic audience
  • Include your personality and showcase your value through the knowledge you present
  • Remember to sign off with contact details and offers of how best to reach you in case they have more questions

Not sure what to write or how best to articulate your points? Check out these 16 Perfect Drip Marketing Emails for Your Real Estate Leads

Then:

  • Decide on length of time between each email. You don’t want to send drip emails every day, but you also don’t want to send so infrequently that they forget about you. Determine your average sales cycle and how in tune your leads are with you, and strike a balance. A couple of days to a week max between emails is appropriate depending on whether the lead is hot, warm, or cold.
  • Don’t forget that you can supplement these communications with phone calls when appropriate where you can ask if your emails are helpful.

Give yourself 30 minutes max.

Feel free to go a step further if you’d like to actually build these within your marketing automation system.

If you’re building drip email campaigns within Placester’s platform, learn how to build your campaigns here.

BONUS EXERCISE #1: Create Tasks for your leads.

If you have lead activity data and lead notes (yesterday’s extra exercise), then it’s time to set reminders for yourself about how you will translate those insights into action.

A great lead management system will allow you the option for setting tasks and reminders so you can reach out when it’s convenient, send cards at their 1-year anniversary, or give your lead a call on a particular day and time they’ve requested.

Tasks are critical for managing your leads because they allow you to follow up on important one-time events so you can maintain a solid nurturing process. Set aside time each day to attend to the tasks.

To see how this is done on the Placester platform, go here.

BONUS EXERCISE #2: Download our real-time marketing guide.

Consumers expect marketing to happen in real-time because they can already get almost anything delivered to them at hyper speed.

Real estate marketing must catch up to meet the searching needs of these consumers, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose critical sleep. What it means is that you should leverage automation and technology to make it easier for your marketing to feel immediate.

Download our ebook to find out how >

BONUS EXERCISE #3: Get a CRM that integrates with mobile.

A lead management system isn’t just for organizing your leads. It’s also for helping you stay aware of lead activity around the clock. Your leads are searching for their home needs at any hour of the day, so your marketing should mirror that.

A mobile app for your CRM allows you to get timely notifications about your leads and manage your lead profiles right from your phone so you never miss a chance for vital follow-up.

Find out more about Placester’s lead management system and capabilities here.

Good luck! We’ll see you tomorrow for Day 10!

Day 10: Reaching Your Goals

Welcome to the final day of the 10-Day Modernize Your Marketing Course. Congratulations!

We have covered so much in our 10 days together, from identifying and attracting your target buyers to building a web presence that drives interest and captures leads. You’ve learned how to showcase your online brand and nurture the most critical leads efficiently.

Just because the course is ending doesn’t mean the work ends. Today’s Agent Action is all about putting the pieces together so you can sustain the tactics we’ve covered here and hit all of your goals for the rest of the year. Let’s make the rest of 2017 strong.

One of the hardest things to do? Follow through on your goals. Hopefully this course has helped you to jumpstart your follow-through methods, but it can be difficult. Today, we’re going to show you how to take a goal and turn it into reality.

Agent Action One: Do This Now

Download our Real Estate Marketing Action Plan Template

Then, click over to the second tab to get your worksheet you’ll use to plan out your activities.

Set 1 great real estate marketing or sales goal. You will do this for all of your goals for the year, but for today’s method, pick 1 important goal. For most agents, this is something they’re missing, like getting more leads or developing a strong email drip process.

Set an inspirational result. Notice we said result. It’s time to actually move toward that overarching goal, and you need something to shoot for. Is it 50% more leads in your base? Is it 4 types of drip campaigns with 4 emails each? Develop an inspirational result that you can see and shoot for.

Develop tangible action steps. 50% more leads may sound great in theory, but it won’t happen by will alone. You must develop a plan of steps that you believe will help you get there. For now, choose 5 activities that will become your steps.

For this particular example, that could mean advertising on Facebook a few times a month, creating special assets to capture lead information on your site, or hosting local events, and more.

Determine the investment. Implementing these action steps will take resources, and it’s important to calculate just how much time or money it will take. Do you realistically have this time and money? What could you sacrifice so you could free up resources to make this happen?

Create frameworks to track progress and hold yourself accountable. How will you implement these tasks and resources in your daily schedule? Write out how and when you’ll work on them to ensure they don’t fall off. And then, what are the markers to help you know you’ve reached your goal? Will you secure a certain leads by then end of quarter 1 or by mid-year?

Set timelines and goals to make sure that you’re dispersing your goal across the entire year.

Mark your progress, successes, and takeaways. Use this worksheet to track when you’re hitting major milestones towards your goals, to remind yourself of the important tasks each week to focus on, what you learn each time something succeeds or fails, and what you’ll plan to change next time around.

Want more information on how to take direct goals, like increasing close rate and growing revenue, and turn them into a reality? Read our article Turning Business Goals Into Real Estate Marketing Plans.

Give yourself 30 minutes max.

Agent Action Two: Do This Now

Sign up for a free private marketing consultation >> One of the biggest questions we get is how to make all of these strategies sustainable. We believe that technology is the key to mastering all of these, and that starts with a great all-in-one platform that helps you manage all of your tasks. Sign up to receive a free consultation with a strategist on our team who can help you figure out how to improve your marketing with great tech.

Sign up for our Real Estate Marketing Academy newsletter: Placester is here to help you every step of the way as you strive for your goals. We’ve got a whole catalogue of resources we share throughout the year, including the latest articles and ebooks on industry marketing, webinars showcasing how to build out your strategies, and podcasts with some of the brightest minds in the industry. If you haven’t already, sign up to join the newsletter >>

Download these resources. We’ve already compiled a number of resources that are helpful for planning your budgets and your out-of-the-box marketing strategies.

Your extra exercise is to take these resources and leverage them within the tactics we’ve shown you in the course.

The best way to tackle these? Once you’ve mastered the essential steps in this program, try one new thing a week from one of these resources and you’ll be sure to keep your marketing fresh throughout the year!

Creating a Real Estate Business Plan: Free Template: Find out your budgets for the year based on your goals and expenses.

Real Estate Marketing Plan Template: Develop your marketing budget and plan for the year ahead.

107 Proven Real Estate Marketing Ideas: Try new proven tactics in your plan, from basic to advanced.

75 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Promote Themselves Online: Never miss a promotional opportunity.

Thanks for being a part of this wonderful journey. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish the rest of this year!