Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Monica Foster, leader of The Monica Foster Team and broker associate with RE/MAX Space Center – Clear Lake.
Houston Agent (HA): You have a strong presence online, not only with your website but also social media, boasting accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn, among others. How do you coordinate marketing campaigns, do you use each platform to its distinct advantage or take a blanketed approach?
Monica Foster (MF): I prefer to have a coordinated marketing campaign across all platforms and even with offline channels, where I can (with a digital billboard I can adjust it to match campaigns). It is important to have a consistent message across social media, google ads, re-marketing ads, etc., so people can better remember who you are, what you are about and be able to find you again. That being said, I will take advantage of a particular social media platform where the message warrants it. Obviously, if I have a video message then YouTube and YouTube Re-marketing is a must. If I am targeting a luxury client I will lean towards LinkedIn, where I have more professionals and I can target by industry. More general marketing messages and blogs go to all platforms.
HA: You are a longtime top producer. How important to your success are benchmarks (goals), and how do you set them to be realistic?
MF: Realizing that my performance depends heavily on factors out my control (market conditions and the local economy) all I do is try to do at least as good as I did before. Occasionally, I will set a higher target based upon past growth rates and my current marketing efforts. I track everything so I can know what to realistically expect for the coming year. I will adjust my marketing based upon that expectation, but mostly I adjust marketing based upon what has been working and what has not. I don’t like to take losses on certain kinds of marketing just so I can make a sales or transaction goal. That can be a race to the bottom. I do watch my net income very carefully and that is what I try to at least match from year-to-year. Depending upon your marketing and team make-up, you may earn more but net less, which is something I try to avoid. It’s fine to do that on occasion, to break into the next level or a new market, but it’s not something you want to do year after year.
HA: Despite Houston’s booming market, housing has remained affordable in relation to the rest of the country, and especially hot markets in California and Florida, but low inventory could prove a problem in 2015. Do you think builders will shore up deficiencies this year, why or why not?
MF: Builders will certainly help with that, but they can only build so fast. Build times now are stretching into six to nine months or more, which is tough for some clients to do. As Realtors, we face a challenge in helping our clients find the right solution for them, whether it be representing them with a builder (something that not enough people think about, unfortunately) or helping them find an existing home that meets their criteria before it is already sold or part of a bidding war. I can definitely say that current buyers are very frustrated with the low inventory situation and some even drop out completely.