In any line of business, work is always hard. But it’s not the work itself that’s toughest to keep up. It’s generating and executing a workable marketing strategy that puts your business way above the competition. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free And real estate is no exception. When it comes to planning things that actually relate to the business, it’s easy to go overboard and start outlining all kinds of strategies. The moment you start thinking about marketing planning, however, things change. What do you know? Usually, for the average investor, all that comes to mind are complicated strategies or some outdated method of getting the word out there. Instead, what you actually need are a few basic steps that’ll lay the groundwork for decent marketing right away. In this article, I’ll be talking about the four most important questions you need to answer to get your marketing off the ground. These four questions are so basic by themselves that you can actually base all your marketing strategies around them. And when you do, you’ll find that marketing your business is not that difficult at all. Whatever product or service you’re trying to promote, just keep these four steps in mind. In every piece of communication you release — be it a press release, a video, or a blog post — and in any action you take, all you have to do is remember these, and you’re golden. Enough with the waiting. Here are four questions you must answer in order to create a great marketing strategy. 4 Questions You MUST Answer for a Top-Notch Marketing Strategy 1. Do people know you exist? So, you’re in the real estate market armed with your passion and desire. You start your business, build a website, and then you just wait for the prospects to come in. Well, you’re in bad luck because the fact is people don’t look for things or businesses that they don’t know exist. You have to tell the world that you’re there in business. Unless the investors or clients know that you’re there, they’ll never look for you. Related: 6 Up-to-Date Marketing Techniques to Help Get Your Properties Noticed There are many ways of letting the world know. My company, for example, is very loud and proud with its branding. We’re always there on various forums. We have a distinguished online presence. Simply because of our many blogs and forum discussions, many people know that we exist and what we do. You too can get started by simply telling every person you know that you’re in real estate. This also includes people you don’t know all that well — for example, the people at your hobby class, the seller at that corner mom and pop store you go to and your doctor. Make it a habit to carry a number of business cards each time you leave your house. Whenever and wherever you meet an interesting person or a potential prospect, hand out your card. Attend real estate networking events and conferences. Introduce yourself to the veterans, thought leaders, and as many people as you can muster to meet. Basically, expand your network and let people know about you. While there’s no match to meeting real people and shaking a hand with them, digital marketing is equally important. It has the power of reaching hundreds and hundreds of people instantly. Join online social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Share relevant content and take part in real estate discussions. Get involved and provide information and knowledge to your prospects. While doing so, don’t be a “me” person. No one likes to hear you talk about yourself. Instead, help people learn a thing or two about real estate. Write blog posts and share great content on these platforms. The idea is to let people know that you’ve got a sound understanding of real estate business and that you can be trusted for doing business. 2. What do you specialize in? The real estate market is huge, and of course, you cannot serve everyone. There are different property classes, different areas and locations of properties, and different types of clients, each with their own requirements. If you try serving all of them, you’ll end up being a jack of all trades but master of none. This is why it’s important to target specific customer market segments. A specialized market strategy makes it easier for you to know and really understand your clients’ needs and requirements, often even before they’ve spoken with you. Specialization clearly defines what it is you do and helps distinguish you from your competitors. It also allows your company to build a strong brand. If you’re a novice in this industry, I would suggest you find your specialty and then put in the work to fine tune it. Focus on one area and then learn all you can about it, becoming an expert on that subject. This will not only help you attract more clients but will also give you an edge over your competitors. And yes, you’ll definitely make more money. As a company, we constantly talk about our target market and the type of properties that we offer. This way, we talk about our specialization. Our clients know about our specialization, and it’s the reason they’ve hired us. Here is an example of what your marketing message could look like: “Ohio Cashflow provides hands off turnkey real estate investment properties that are sold at market or below market value in selected areas and to selected investors only.” 3. What does your ideal client/investor look like? By now, people know about you and your offering. The next step is to know and understand your target audience or your ideal client. An ideal client is the one with whom you would love to work the most — and he would love to work with you as well. Without having a good idea about who your ideal client is, you won’t be able to attract any of them. To get there, first come up with their complete profile. You should know the demographics of your client — say, the age group you’re targeting, the gender percentage of your clients, the socio-economic profile of your ideal clients, and other important things that’ll help you serve them better. Ask yourself questions like what motivates your client to buy a property, what worries your client when they want to buy and what goals your client trying to reach by buying it. These will give you a far better understanding of your client. Once you know these answers for your ideal customer, you’ll be able to attract them in a far more efficient way. You’ll even know how to find them more easily. And in turn, your clients will be much more responsive to your messages because you’re showing them that you understand their needs, their fears, and their aspirations. If your client is educated, motivated and professional for example, he would like you to have these exact same traits. If you don’t have these traits, this guy is not your target customer. My company is known for turning down more business than it takes on. We have learned to say “no” to the good opportunities so we can say “yes” to the great ones. Don’t compromise your integrity and beliefs just to make a quick dime. Consider this relationship like a marriage. You have to like each other and respect each other; otherwise, it won’t last. Date for as long as possible before you jump into bed. Real estate is, after all, a long term play and not just a one night stand. 4. What problems do you solve for your investors/clients? This step is the most important step in a marketing strategy. A strategy is not about how you can sell what you’ve got, but about knowing what solutions you have for the problems of your customers. They don’t necessarily look for great looking, technically sound products. If a product can solve their problem, they’re in. Related: The Highly Effective (Completely Free) Marketing Trick Newbies Overlook Similarly, in real estate your clients are looking for solutions to their problems. For example, if your client is a busy man and wants to make passive income from property, you can help him by offering a complete turnkey package. You can be the one to help him buy the property and then find ideal tenants along with looking after the ongoing management. Also, through your blogs and other media, let your ideal clients know what you can do for them. Let them know how doing business with you will help them solve their problem. They key here is to touch emotion with every marketing message. Don’t be a sales-y jerk, and never forget that people buy people and not products or services. Despite many people claiming that real estate investing is a challenging business requiring expertise, it is a fact that with a correct strategy in place and experience, you can make it look easy. And you know what? Because this sector revolves around people and relationships, you can benefit by working with integrity. Trust and relationships are the most valuable assets in real estate. Whether you’re focusing on commercial properties in hot markets or residential properties in suburban areas, following these steps will help you build a real brand for yourself and your company. Investors: What principles did you use to come up with your marketing strategies? Any tips you’d add to this article? Let me know with a comment!