Real Estate Marketing Academy

12 Outside-the-Box Real Estate Marketing Ideas That Can Spark Engagement

By Matthew Bushery


12 Out of the Box Creative Real Estate Marketing IdeasUnique. Original. Remarkable. It’s difficult to develop real estate marketing ideas day in and day out that meet each of these criteria — especially when you spend much of your time on the road meeting with clients and leads. Sometimes, however, the best remedy for marketing fatigue is thinking outside the box and identifying ways your website content, email marketing, and social media posts can be “different” (a.k.a. more interesting).

Here is a modest sampling of real estate agent marketing ideas you can implement that will drive engagement levels through the roof, garner you some new leads, and even provide a nice public relations boost.

1)  Create in-depth graphs, guides, charts, or maps.

The best real estate marketing plan includes plenty of graphics — but not just any will do. Taking time to hone your Photoshop skills (or building enough capital to hire a professional graphic designer) will allow you to add striking images, charts, graphs, and other visual elements to your blog and social media posts. When that time comes, ensure your graphics explain something of value to your audience, like the best parts of your local market.

The infographic below is a perfect example of this: Startup Seattle, an organization run by the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development to help foster a great environment for local startups, created this beginner’s guide that explains the current startup landscape in the Emerald City.

Startup Seattle guide infographic Kind of Normal homeowner neighborhood graphic

You can also be a bit humorous and develop less comprehensive graphics, like the one from Kind of Normal, via its Truth Facts comic. Home buyer and seller jokes may seem corny, but a laugh could lead to more clicks on your website and more leads in your contacts database.

2)  Publish a local market quiz on your real estate website.

If you’ve ever checked out BuzzFeed before, then you know people like to take quizzes on just about any subject. Test your audience with a short, multiple-choice quiz on something of interest. See if they know things like which famous people grew up in the area and tidbits about your town’s history. The questions or topics can even be created around broader subjects unrelated to your market, like music, movies, or some other facet of pop culture.

If you want to be the ultimate resource for your leads, however, a thought-provoking quiz on the ins and outs of buying or selling a home, like the one below from Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of San Francisco-based Vanguard Properties, could be your ticket to gaining their confidence.

Kevin Ho home buyer quiz

Think of these quick exams as one of those real estate marketing tools to use once in a while — perhaps as part of your email marketing campaign. You could even create a contest around the quiz: Require those who take it to fill out a lead capture form at the end and give the winner a gift card to a local restaurant or cafe.

3)  Develop a series of enthralling Vine and Instagram photos of videos.

Who doesn’t love seeing behind-the-scenes footage? It’s compelling to see how the best brands — whether they’re a Fortune 500 firm or a small real estate agency — operate on a day-to-day basis. Realty One Group out of the West Coast exhibits a healthy amount of personality on its social media accounts, including its Instagram account, where the company posts a series of its work for its online TV channel.

Fellow Instagrammers get to see the human side of the agency: everything from agents partaking in mini-think-tank sessions to a Bachelor-themed video congratulating one of their own on a career accomplishment. Many consumers may not realize it, but it’s these types of interactions and a willingness to show your brand’s true colors to the world that enhances trust in brands.

Realty One Group has seemingly mastered the art of showing off its personable side in its real estate marketing collateral — a move that surely pays off when local buyers and sellers are looking for representation.

4)  Capitalize on the popularity of the latest internet memes.

You may think memes are simply another internet distraction — one that keeps you from completing important tasks, like segmenting real estate leads in your customer relationship management (CRM) database or scheduling meetings with prospective clients. On the contrary, though: Memes offer a (dare we say) fun real estate marketing tactic that is just now taking off with agents and can get some laughs from your audience.Paul Fernandez Realtor Pinterest

The second you notice that a (politically correct and totally appropriate-for-work) meme is making the rounds online, try to come up with a way to use it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (like Realtor Paul Fernandez’s board above), or even on your blog. A post titled “10 Feelings All Home Buyers Have During the Process” filled with memes could be your key to connecting with your targeted demographic.

5)  Develop a blog post or video series highlighting great area restaurants and entertainment.

Though property price, size, style, and features are the top considerations for the modern home buyer, living in a community with plentiful food and entertainment options is an increasingly important factor as well. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and a wealth of other websites offer up reviews and details about movie theaters, restaurants, and similar businesses. But these portals have an issue: They can take forever to sort through just to find a well-written review or locate the right information. That’s where you, the all-knowing real estate agent, comes into play.

Develop a series of blog posts and/or videos that gives home buyers interested in your market the lowdown on the premier eateries and establishments in your area. Finding these locales shouldn’t be a problem — simply think of your own favorite places to see a play or grab a bite with friends. Then, write down why you love those places and share your opinions with the world, like Realtor Michelle Calkins does in her blog post series and Realtor David Gonzalez does in the YouTube clip below.

Michelle Calkins real estate agent

6)  Order unique business cards that stand out.

Business cards will never go out of style. You’ll always have in-person meetings and meet-ups with buyers, sellers, and other industry professionals, meaning it’s vital to have your information on hand to share with them. But a boring card that lists your business name and contact details in the smallest, plainest font won’t be memorable. Take a risk and order some original business cards few have likely seen before. For instance, take a look at these fine examples featured on ViralNova that take the concept to the next level.ViralNova business cards

Research the best business card creation services out there and try to find one that offers to develop distinct versions like the one above that will get people to remember you long after your conversation with them ends. It might seem like a small item to focus so much of your attention on, but marketing for real estate agents continues to evolve — and become more competitive — by the day, so seemingly minor touches like this can keep you top-of-mind.

7)  Incorporate your pet into some of your real estate listing photos.

Corcoran Group real estate listing photo

Though not every home buyer will care for seeing a cute French bulldog or Grumpy Cat look-alike throughout a property they tour on your real estate website, chances are the occasional photo featuring pets won’t turn off consumers — and may even appeal to the buyers you’re looking for.

Use your pup or cat, or borrow one from a family member or friend, to feature in your listing shots. (Side note: If you somehow convince your canine pal to get in the relaxed pose as the one above, as featured in this Curbed article, you should take up a side business as a dog whisperer).

8)  Add some flavor to your real estate video marketing.

Sending an email to your contacts to wish them a happy holiday likely won’t nurture your leads through the sales funnel like blog posts and promotional email messages do. Having said that, getting in the spirit for widely celebrated goings-on locally or nationally can humanize your brand.

Look at what the team at Modern Life Realty and ERA Justin Realty teams accomplished in the following recordings: The former takes a typical video marketing technique and turns it on its head by speaking to the camera with … well … whatever it is the featured gentleman is donning. Meanwhile, the latter hops on the “Call Me Maybe” bandwagon (which has long since been abandoned, but that’s another story) and capitalizes on its 15 minutes of fame.

Both took a chance, which is what you have to do from time to time with your real estate marketing strategy, as these tactics can often pay big dividends.

On top of these outlandish videos, consider conducting “man-on-the-street” interviews as well. The subjects of these videos don’t have to pertain to your business or even real estate in general. You could ask them philosophical questions, like what the meaning of life is, or ask them for their thoughts on a local college or professional sports team.

9)  Film an explainer video that goes into detail about your agency.

Differentiate your business from other agents in your market with real estate explainer videos. Don a black turtleneck and explain your services as if you were Steve Jobs (rest in peace). Pretend to be a political candidate and pitch people on why you’re the right person for the job. Heck, even take a page out of the “Arrested Development” playbook and mock those awful 1-800 lawyer commercials.

These videos are traditionally meant to be serious, as they relay your value proposition and what makes your agency successful and worth hiring. But as noted, personality plays a big role in the decision-making of buyers and sellers, so have some fun while still getting across the info that’s essential for consumers to know about your brand.

10)  Fabricate mock logos for your agency that replicate famous ones.

Mock logos

If you’re a big fan of a particular TV show, incorporate the famous typeface and/or imagery associated with one (or more) of the series with your own real estate logo. Make it timely by sharing an email with your list featuring your new, short-term branding and a message about when the new season premieres. There are several directions you could take this faux-go (get it?), so find a well-known pop culture design or symbol you can play around with for your own real estate marketing. Just be sure not to use it in too many promotional materials (the last thing you want is to get a cease-and-desist from billion-dollar entities).

11)  Devise a fun game to accompany awards shows or televised events.

Ever see publications, bloggers, and brands share “drinking games” for events like the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl? Join in and create your own version of a game (of the drinking variety or something different is up to you). You could even create an interactive or printable bingo chart, of sorts, (see The Wall Street Journal’s interactive take below) for people to use during these events and see if your amusing insights and predictions come true. Brand this marketing collateral with your logo to get those who partake in your game to remember where they got it.Wall Street Journal Oscars bingo

12)  Post ideas and tips for homeowners, buyers, and sellers in Reddit.

Reddit subreddit real estate

Before you get all flustered wondering how Reddit can help your real estate marketing (or what Reddit even is), just know that the site isn’t simply the “front page of the internet,” as it promotes itself to be. There are endless amounts of “subreddit” forum boards on the site devoted to the most specific topics in the world — including homeownership, home buying, and home selling. Find ones in which people looking to buy or sell properties need sage wisdom and where homeowners are looking for advice regarding their mortgages or tax tips.

Download our 107 Real Estate Marketing Ideas checklist to get inspiration for your own online strategy.

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