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Author Molly Castelazo
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You’re sitting down to write a property listing. You know my first rule of marketing: Make it personal. But how do you do that – and stay within Fair Housing guidelines?
The Fair Housing Act, explained
The purpose of the Fair Housing Act is to ensure that a person can buy or rent a house or apartment wherever they want regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religious preference, disability, family status or national origin. In some areas, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is also prohibited.
Unfortunately the Fair Housing Act doesn’t actually list the words you are and are not allowed to use in your marketing communications. The language you can and cannot use while remaining faithful to the spirit of the Act is up for interpretation.
I’ve been on Twitter for a couple months now, and some fishy things have finally started to make sense:
Fishy thing #1: People would “un-follow” me and then “follow” me back a few days later. Did they hate my tweets one day and love them the next?
Fishy thing #2: Really weird Tweets, some from really weird profiles – for example:
And some really weird tweets from legitimate sounding folks I thought I might like to network with – like the female real estate agent in New Hampshire who tweeted about – um, “male enlargement” pills.
Fishy thing #3: Well, not so fishy, really – since Ponzi devised his first scheme, people have been looking to game the system. So “Get Thousands of Twitter Followers a Day – Just $55” services shouldn’t be a big surprise.
Does a Large Twitter Following Equate to Success?
What I’ve begun to realize is that many people mistakenly believe that having thousands of Twitter followers equals success. Some fellow Twitterers and I had a discussion a few weeks back on this topic. About game-the-system techniques like auto follow/unfollow and auto tweeting, one Twitterer asked, “Does it really work?”
Is direct mail a part of your marketing strategy?
It should be. More specifically, hard copy, good ‘ol fashioned snail mail newsletters should be part of your marketing strategy. Here’s why:
- Other real estate agents and investors have stopped sending them. So you have a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
- People still like the feel of a piece of paper in their hands. Studies prove it’s true!
- When people are making a decision to buy or sell a home – one of the biggest financial decisions of most people’s lives – they want to be informed. And they want to work with an expert. A newsletter is a great way to position yourself as that expert.
How to craft newsletters that work
If I’ve convinced you that you should be mailing newsletters, here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Get a good list. It’s an old adage in direct marketing that 40% of a mailer’s success (or failure) is due to the quality of the mailing list.
I received the Google Analytics newsletter the other day in the mail and it got me thinking about long tail keywords. But Peter Kolat has already written some great posts about that subject, so I shifted my thinking more generally to targeting your prospects. Because that’s what using long tail keywords is really about, after all – honing in on the prospects that are searching specifically for what you offer.
What’s in it for me?
Let’s do a thought experiment: Imagine you’re looking for someone to clean up and fix the houses you buy before you flip them. You happen, just as you’re thinking about it, to get three postcards in the mail.
How do you, as a real estate investor or Realtor, determine the “just right” amount of money to spend on marketing? Two ways: 1) Your marketing activities need to fit within your budget – you shouldn’t spend money you don’t really have; and 2) to optimize your spending on marketing, you should think in terms of the return your investment generates (your ROI).
Last week I blogged about Real Estate Marketing 101 – the first three steps that should be part of any good marketing plan. As you know, this plan is your “bible,” the document that guides you, keeping your decisions on track with your larger strategic goals. It’s the document that will make it easy to project a consistent brand in every media. It will make integrating your strategy online and offline a smooth, effective process.
The fourth step in creating your marketing plan is to choose your marketing media and develop your messages. “How?” you ask. Read on. . .
Step 4: Choose your marketing media and develop your messages
Now it’s time to put the rubber to the road, your nose to the grindstone, your money where your mouth is. You’re going to create your marketing campaign, based on your answers to the questions in steps 1-3. If your budget allows, think about an integrated campaign that incorporate a number of different media.
I can recall vividly my momma yelling at me, “Think before you act, child!” As adults, we too often forget momma’s sage advice. As business people, we are often even worse.
I certainly understand the tendency to act on the first impulse, to do the first thing that will grow the business, put cash in the bank, create a new partnership,whatever. But sometimes, we act too quickly, making rash decisions that hinder us down the road.
Your marketing “bible”
To avoid making quick-but-detrimental decisions in your marketing, you need a plan. A good marketing plan is your “bible” – the document that guides you, keeping your decisions on track with your larger strategic goals. It’s the document that will make it easy to project a consistent brand in every media. It will make integrating your strategy online and offline a smooth, effective process.
But how to create said marketing plan? I’m glad you asked. . .
Step 1: Know your customers
Your first step to developing an effective marketing plan is to “get to know” your customers. Ask, and answer, these questions:
Has it been one week already? Wow, how time flies by.
Last week I wrote about 5 smart marketing moves you can make to boost your real estate business without breaking the bank. #4 was to “Keep ‘AIDA’ on your mind.” In his comment, J. Lamar Ferren asked that I go into some more detail about the AIDA formula. So without further ado. . .
What is AIDA and How Can it Help in Your Real Estate Marketing?
AIDA was devised, by the real Mad Men, as a way to walk a prospect through the psychological steps he takes on the way to engaging your service. For real estate investors, AIDA is the process by which you convince a seller to sell to you, a buyer to buy or a renter to rent. For real estate agents, AIDA is the process by which a prospect becomes a client.
I figure it’ll be much more fun to look at AIDA in action, rather than read me just blathering on about it (I’ll do that, too, of course 🙂 ). So I’ve copied a real estate agent’s postcard below. Take a look: