The 7 Deadly Sins of Real Estate Marketing: Are You Guilty?


When it comes to marketing in Real Estate, as both a Realtor and investor, I see common themes that tend to repeat themselves. Some mistakes I see over and over again, and I’ve come to view them as the biggest offenders and what I have deemed the “7 Sins of Real Estate Marketing” are you guilty of any of them?

The 7 Deadly Sins of Real Estate Marketing

1. Not Being Consistent With Your Marketing Plan

The most common problem I see in real estate marketing is not being consistent and persistent with your marketing plan, period. Marketing, whether through direct mail, online or word of mouth, is the lifeblood of your business. Without it, you will have no deals and thus no business.

Inconsistency is especially common amongst people who have just started on their journey in real estate. They pull their list, begin sending out postcards or yellow letters, and they get disappointed. It takes time to build up your brand such that people have top of mind awareness, so they think of you and give you a call when it’s time to sell.

Remember, whether you are trying to get in touch with motivated sellers or you are a Realtor farming for listings, it takes multiple touches for someone to convert. Maybe the first time they see your post card, they view it briefly and throw it into the trash. This might continue for several months until they finally start to think about selling. Now who are they most likely going to call?

2. Disregarding Budget & Spending Out of Your Comfort Zone

Figure out what you can comfortably afford to spend every month on direct mail without fail. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you initially spend $1,500 a month, only to find 3 months in you can no longer afford to do so. By being consistent, you will “touch” each prospect a certain amount of times through the year. Expect to go at least 6 months before you land your first deal. Once you start having success, you can begin to roll some of the profits back into your marketing budget and expand your marketing area, rinse and repeat.

Related: My Single Biggest Real Estate Marketing Discovery of 2014

The above phenomena is what I like to refer to as the marketing snowball. The end goal is to market enough consistently on the front end that you are regularly generating leads on the back end.

3. Throwing Away Leads

Every single dollar you spend on marketing is valuable; don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. That’s why I am flabbergasted when I see people literally throwing away solid leads.

For example, you send out a mail campaign to absentee owners. Let’s say 50-100 mail pieces come back to your return address in between each mailing. Many times the post office will leave marks that will literally tell you what’s going on with the house, for example “house vacant,” “unable to forward,” etc.

Many investors and agents just throw these away. These are golden leads — the harder it is to locate someone, the better opportunity there is for you (less competition, more likely you will get the deal, etc.). Instead of throwing those leads away, start doing a little bit of detective work. It’s worth it. Just use your favorite skip trace service, and you can find the new address or phone number for the owner within seconds. If you follow up in this manner, you might be the only one mailing them. Think for a moment how powerful that is.

4. Missing Out on the Power of Testimonials

There is nothing more powerful than 3rd party recommendation, especially in real estate. When you show up to get that new listing or to make an offer on a property, think about how powerful it would be to show the potential client a list of people in the EXACT same position that they are in now and how you were able to help them.

Don’t show them generic statements — but pictures, contact information, or a video testimonial. When it comes to testimonials, IF people have them, they tend to just be generic statements on a page of your website with a first name and last initial with no picture. There is no personality in that, and people are growing more and more skeptical of testimonials posted in this manner by the day. For all they know, you could have just written up some glowing remarks, made up a name and posted it on your website 5 minutes ago, and hey, you got yourself a testimonial.

So set yourself apart, and start using testimonials the right way.

5. Not Following Up With Prospects

Always follow up with your prospects.

I talk to Realtors who work expired listings here in the Dallas area — and I am surprised at how few follow up. The house will expire, they will attempt to make contact once, and that’s it. If they were unable to talk to someone or book the appointment, that lead goes straight into the dallas

These are people that at some point in time are going to need your house. If they don’t sell or list with you, they are going to sell or list with your competition; it might as well be you, so follow up. Make a simple system to keep track of your leads, when the last time you spoke with them was, and if the property has sold or not yet. If the house hasn’t sold yet, you better still be contacting them. Keyword is a simple system; it doesn’t have to be fancy — it can be a binder full of scratch paper, an Excel sheet or Google Doc. Just make it happen.

6. Having No Online Presence

Now more than ever, people are going online to research someone before they do business with them. If someone Googles your name or company information right now, will you be found?

7. Not Leveraging the Power of Referrals

This is especially for you Realtors. You list the house, or they buy one, and then what happens? For most of you, they completely drop out of your sales funnel, likely never to be heard from again.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing: 10 Tools to Generate Unlimited Leads

In my business, I give anyone that I have done business with in the past a call to see if they know anyone thinking of selling. Not only that, but I usually mail them a few times throughout the year, just so they don’t forget about me. And guess what: I have gotten quite a few deals this way. You worked so hard to close that deal — once the transaction closes and your client is happy with the work you did, don’t throw the lead away. In fact, this hoarder house in Fort Worth that I recently posted about was a direct result of word of mouth referral.

If you are guilty of any of these, the year’s not over, and it’s never too late to start. Incorporate some of the suggestions above and improve your business.

Have you ever been guilty of any of these “sins” of real estate marketing, and if so, what have you done to improve your ways?

Let me know with a comment!

About Author

Chris Feltus

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. In addition, Chris operates as a licensed Realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  1. Ed Caldwell

    Thank you for this Article Chris. I am a CPA in Phoenix and just got my RE license a year ago, so I am still learning the marketing end of things. It is definitely easy to get discouraged in marketing campaigns when money is flowing out and leads are not coming in, or at least not the ones you want. There is definitely an art to marketing and I continue to tweak my marketing campaigns to try to improve response rates. I have not pursued utilizing my RE license in the traditional way as got it to save 3% on the backside of flipping. I am now thinking of tweaking my marketing to not only buy houses, but possibly generate extra income representing sellers with the RE license. Any advise would be greatly appreciated as I am trying to transition out of accounting, but it still pays the bills.

    Thanks again.

  2. John Hamilton

    Very helpful, Chris. I just started my wholesale business and getting ready to mail my first absentee owners DM campaign with another (using different media and list) to follow a week or two behind. Then, I’m starting on a third for MFH. I may even throw in a batch for divorce, probate, etc. The goal is to keep that pipeline full and have the system ready to capture all those leads.

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