12 Essential Spring Cleaning Ideas for Your Real Estate Marketing [Free Checklist]
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Just as your clients will be heading to their backyards and basements for their annual spring cleaning, it’s time to brush up your real estate marketing. Before you get too far into the spring market, it’s important to review how you get real estate leads and revitalize your marketing campaigns. Check out these 12 integral real estate marketing tasks you must take care of each spring (and summer, fall, and winter, for that matter) and use our helpful Spring Cleaning Checklist to make sure you cover all the aspects of your marketing strategy that need attention.
Cleaning your contacts database is first and foremost. After all, you don’t want to spend time nurturing real estate leads that will never convert. Using a contact management system is the simplest way to identify duplicate prospects in your system. Meanwhile, your real estate CRM — assuming it has a lead-scoring feature — can identify leads who aren’t worth pursuing and should be eradicated from your database altogether.
For instance, find those who haven’t responded to any of your emails or even opened them. Tools like Yesware and Sidekick show who’s opened your messages, what links they’ve clicked, and other activity. It’s safe to say those who ignore your messages likely aren’t ready to buy (yet, at least), so figure out who’s worth keeping tabs on and who can be let go.
Additionally, any leads with incomplete profiles — like missing social media accounts, phone numbers, job details, and income information — should be addressed. Some solutions can pinpoint which leads are lacking key information and locate that info online, so research different real estate contact management software that can help make your lead information complete.
2) Fine-tune your real estate listing presentation strategy.
A stale sales pitch is a failed sales pitch. Revisit what’s worked well during your listing presentations and what aspects of your business spiel could use modifications. One part of your pitch to analyze is your visuals (or lack thereof).
Slideshow presentations, animated graphics, listing videos, market overviews, and testimonial footage can all influence leads. You don’t need to be totally tech savvy to learn how to develop graphics, videos, and other multimedia that can help you win new business. All you need is the right listing presentation tools, many of which do half (or more) of the work for you. Start by creating small visuals with resources like Google Slides or Haiku Deck, and then graduate to recording short sales videos that showcase your best listings, happy clients, and shots of local neighborhoods.
Aside from adding higher-quality visuals to your real estate listing presentations, address the physical approach you take with prospective clients during listing presentations and think of ways to better your process and execution. Get feedback from peers, colleagues, family, and friends by practicing your pitch on them. Note what facets of your language, tone, presentation structure, and other elements they recommend amending and dedicate time to repairing the problem areas.
3) Revamp any poor-performing real estate marketing tactics.
As with any personal or business failure, it’s imperative to get back on the horse and try, try again with real estate marketing activities that in the past didn’t lead to more site traffic, leads, or new clients.
For instance, it takes some time to succeed with real estate search engine optimization (SEO), so giving up on your search strategy after just a few months will only set you back further. A great proactive measure to take is to determine what may be wrong with your site’s on-page SEO elements. Perhaps there are broken links you can fix or meta tags you can add to make your content easier to find in search. Moreover, you can research new keywords to use in your blog posts and site pages. Mix up long-tail keywords (e.g. “Lower East Side Manhattan studio apartments”) you use in content to make your content more findable to your core audience.
Whether it’s a lackluster SEO approach that’s not getting you found on page one, a poor-performing email marketing campaign with low open and click-through rates, a social media strategy that isn’t yielding many new followers or much engagement, or real estate blogging that isn’t leading to more site traffic, analyze what areas of your marketing need instant attention and develop new plans of action for them.
4) Pinpoint new real estate lead generation sources to support existing ones.
After combing through your existing real estate marketing techniques and identifying ways to improve them, think of new, different tactics you can put into place to generate real estate leads.
One option is to develop a real estate public relations strategy. You don’t need a Hollywood-esque PR person to get your name out and broaden your brand awareness. All it takes is some research into ways you can promote your real estate business. Arguably the most obvious real estate PR tactic is to put out press releases.
Some say these aren’t as effective as they used to be, but their success really depends on the medium where they’re published and the subject matter covered. For instance, if you hired new agents at your firm, generate a release announcing their hires, highlighting their backgrounds, and noting your goals with them now onboard. Then, maximize exposure for the release: Post it on your blog and social media accounts, share it via email, and submit it to local publications.
Other popular ways to boost your real estate lead generation that you may not have tried yet include:
- Guest posting on popular blogs, publications, and brand websites (e.g. home contractors) in your area
- Speaking regularly at local events, meetups, and other gatherings to offer buying and selling advice
- Repurposing your older real estate blog content in new ways, like infographics, SlideShares, or videos
5) Remove unnecessary and unhelpful real estate website elements.
The ways you can optimize your website are nearly endless. There are countless plug-ins, add-ons, and widgets you can implement and myriad design and functional elements you can add. These components may make your site look flashy, but many of them are gratuitous and actually hurt your site metrics. For instance, an overly long or large lead capture form or pop-up call to action (CTA) asking visitors to get in touch with you can dismay your website visitors.
Complete a full audit of your entire site — from top to bottom and on every page — and examine which site elements help your traffic, click-through, and lead gen goals and which can be tossed by the wayside. There isn’t one right way to set up your site, but just take into account things like page load times, appearance, functionality, and directional cues (that direct your visitors’ user experience) when deciding how to give your site the touch-up it needs.
If needed, take advantage of the many website optimization tools that exist, including heat map tools that show you where visitors click and scroll to, and feedback software that makes it easy for your audience to share their thoughts on your site.
6) Update your site’s searchability by fixing on-page SEO issues.
As noted, on-page SEO plays a big role in your real estate website’s success. Execute every major on-page element correctly — which, according to search analytics firm Moz, means completely filling out meta data, publishing content unique to your URL, and ensuring your site is mobile-optimized, among other things — and your site will continue to rank well. Neglect these site elements and you likely won’t find your site atop search results anytime soon. Primary on-page areas to focus on so your site becomes a force in the eyes of Google and Bing include:
- Keyword usage: Use primary keywords on every page and in your site’s URL.
- Meta descriptions: Create a unique, keyword-optimized description to show in search results.
- Page title: Develop titles for each page that are under 60 characters and use a primary keyword early.
- Page content: Implement primary keywords naturally in landing pages and blog posts.
- Internal links: Link your content in relevant, long-tail hypertext related to the link itself.
- Images: Use relevant keywords in the file name and alt text for every image published.
7) Clean up your Google Analytics account and try new features.
Are you using Google Analytics to track your real estate marketing tactics? If so, that means you’re ahead of the curve, since you’re monitoring what’s working for your marketing and adjusting what isn’t. But there are some chores to take care of every so often that will improve your use of Google Analytics.
If you publish blog posts on various social networks and marketing channels, you can use Google’s URL builder tool to create link descriptions, with UTM parameters, that let you know where traffic is coming from. You can add the names of each specific channel’s name in the “Campaign Source” field in the URL builder and use that new link to monitor who’s clicking on that link via that social media outlet in your Analytics account. This will help keep Analytics data accurate.
This is just one of several modifications you can make to your Analytics dashboard to simplify the tracking of your marketing efforts. You can also:
- Analyze metrics from longer periods: Instead of just looking up your site metrics from the past 30 or 60 days, take a deeper dive into the history of your site’s traffic by looking back over the past several months and years. This can alert you to trends that can influence your future content creation.
- Figure out where visitors are coming from: If you’re an Analytics user, use the geographic data on users to find out where your visitors come from. Are they local or distant? If they’re remote, consider beefing up your content for relocators.
- Set up website visitor flow charts: Ever want to know what path your visitors take when checking out your site? Use these flow charts to identify what pages they arrived on first and last. If you find out one page is visited more than others, for instance, you could optimize it to improve lead capture.
8) Freshen up your writing by trying out new blog post styles.
Expert marketer Lee Odden once said, “A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” Keep your buyer and seller audience in mind with your real estate blog topic brainstorming and you’ll find plenty of ways to connect with, educate, and even entertain your audience.
Narrow down the typical list of things buyers and sellers want to read about — home price and sales data, information about new business openings, details about home design trends, etc. — to your specific demographic. For instance, if you notice the tech industry is becoming a big part of your community or region, write blog posts on employment opportunities or the types of businesses coming to town.
Look at what you’ve written about in recent weeks and months to help dictate what kinds of posts you can create going forward. Then, create an editorial calendar featuring those ideas and blog away.
9) Revisit your buyer personas to determine if they’re still relevant.
If your blog posts don’t resonate with anyone, it’s time to reconfigure the specifics of your real estate buyer personas. That doesn’t simply entail listing a few vague characteristics about your audience. Rather, you need to research who you’ve worked with in the past and current leads in your database to see what traits they share. For example, are your clients and leads mostly in a certain age range? Do they work in common fields or roles? What types of homes are they most interested in? It’s the many small details that impact how you develop not only your blog posts, but your real estate marketing strategy at large.
The best way to ascertain these details about your leads, if they already aren’t stored in your real estate CRM, is to reach out to some of them with a survey. Ask them to fill out a short questionnaire about their demographics (e.g. age, income level, location), home preferences (e.g. design, home style, number of floors) and general interests (e.g. favorite nearby neighborhoods, businesses, and restaurants). Then, use this info to craft personas for buyers and sellers.
10) Adjust your social media marketing publication schedule.
Content creation is the backbone of your real estate marketing, but promotion is what helps make the most of that content and really gets it out there to the world. Your social media presence is one of the primary mediums that augments the reach of your blog posts and landing pages. If you’re concerned about having to manually post links to your content, though, you have nothing to worry about, thanks to marketing automation software.
Simply enter in unique copy for tweets and status updates featuring content links, find a suitable image to accompany the post, then add into the marketing automation software of your choice (of which there are many to choose from) and schedule away. Automating your content publication on social networks days, weeks, or even months in advance can save you innumerable hours of labor, and allows you to focus on producing more content to share with your audience.
11) Determine where your real estate advertising falls short.
Google AdWords provides agents and brokers of all income and experience levels a reliable real estate advertising platform. The trick to getting the most out of AdWords, though, is to create succinct and enticing copy, link to appropriate pages on your site, and use the right keywords. If you miss any one of these core advertising elements, your ads will fall flat.
Start with the most important of the three real estate ad components: keywords. Research key primary, secondary, and long-tail terms that your personas search for regularly online. You don’t want to bid on the most popular keywords since those will be expensive, but don’t settle for keywords with little search volume either. Find a solid middle ground with your keywords so you don’t break the bank with your advertising budget but still find terms that are actually searched often by your audience.
Next up is to perfect your real estate ad copy. Unlike your blog posts, the point of ads is to be overtly promotional. Having said that, be careful with the language you use to promote yourself — especially given you have a limited number of characters to work with. Headlines for AdWords ads can be no longer than 25 characters, while the body copy can only have a maximum of 70 characters (35 each on lines one and two, excluding the URL you include). The best way to determine which ads work best is to A/B test the copy and links included.
12) Modify your real estate email marketing campaign.
One of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal is email. Open and click-through rates for the real estate industry’s email marketing efforts continue to strengthen, meaning the medium is not only a viable one to use regularly, but a necessary one. The key is sending messages that are worth opening, and it all starts with the subject line.
Research from MailChimp found that personalization in email subject lines can make a big difference regarding open rates, so consider incorporating the first name of each of your recipients at the beginning or end of a subject line to catch their attention (e.g. “Looking for homes for sale, [Recipient’s Name Here]”). Be direct in the subject line as to your email’s intent and get to the point quickly.
Be sure to spend time developing new email marketing content as well. Sending the same newsletter featuring the same listings and stock message, for instance, won’t move your leads down the funnel. Think about what your audience wants to know on a regular basis, aside from new and noteworthy listings, and create a campaign around that topic. It could be interviews with local entrepreneurs or videos featuring tips and tricks for aspiring homeowners. As with any aspect of your marketing, test different email types to find what works specifically for you.
How do you plan to spruce up your real estate marketing strategy this spring? Tell us your spring cleaning plan in the comments below.
Published on March 12, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.