Figuring out how to market your real estate business can be a daunting task, especially if you’re just getting in the industry and can’t rely as heavily on referrals.
Three top Houston agents, Dena Musfy from Greenwood King Properties and Amanda and Aaron Ruchti from Coldwell Bank, gave us the low-down on maximizing their marketing budget to market and sell their listings. Here’s what they had to say.
Use professional photographs and videos to help your listings stand out
Amanda and Aaron Ruchti say that hiring professional photographers and videographers has been key to their success, especially during the pandemic. “We include professional photos for all of our listings, and professional videos for most of them,” says Amanda Ruchti. “You can put the photos and videos on the HAR website, YouTube, social media, and many other places. Listings with videos get better click rates on social media because people pause to watch the video. ”
Ruchti says it keeps potential clients on your listing longer and also helps show the listing to out-of-town buyers who can’t come physically to look at houses.
Social media is a must
Although Amanda Ruchti admits this may be difficult for new agents, getting a third party to run your social media can be very beneficial. The Ruchtis heavily utilize social media to market their listings. They post about properties that have been recently sold, as well as new and pending listings.
You can use social media to market yourself, as well. “Buyers might not care as much about listings, but you want to put out content about being a helpful resource to people so you can gain credibility and people will think of you as a trusted resource,” Amanda Ruchti says.
Musfy also hired a social media manager in the past year, which she says has been key in getting information out to potential clients. “Being able to inform clients is the most important things in the business, and social media has really helped me to do that,” she says.
Create individualized property websites
The Ruchtis create a unique website for each of their properties. They include photos and videos so potential buyers can get all the information they need for the listing. They say these websites have been essential in marketing their listings and getting their name out there.
Send out regular email blasts
Musfy says email marketing is an “active pipeline” for new listings. She sends out email blasts for each new listing to all brokers and helps get her listings sold.
The Ruchtis also use email marketing to get more eyes on their pending listings that are “coming soon.” “It’s super important to do ‘coming soon’ stuff because it gives more people the opportunity to look at a house before it goes active on HAR,” Aaron Ruchti says.
He also stresses the importance of curating various groups to send emails to, including people you meet at open houses or buyers looking to settle in certain areas. “You want to get your business on many different peoples’ radars,” he adds.
Hire or find a marketing specialist, if you can
Although this can be hard for new agents, both Musfy and the Ruchtis say finding someone to help you with marketing can be half the battle. For example, the Ruchtis hired a social media specialist to help with their social media marketing. Additionally, Musfy says one of the reasons she joined her current brokerage is because they have a fantastic marketing department to help their agents market their business.
Include digital brochures on yard signs
Yard signs are one of the most traditional ways to market a property. The Ruchtis take it a step further by including QR codes for digital brochures on all yard signs. They’ve found digital brochures to be more effective than traditional printed brochures.
All potential buyers have to do is scan the QR code on the yard sign or text a code to the number listed, and they will receive a mobile brochure with photos and more information about the listing.
Make sure to pay attention to online reviews
“Besides referrals, the biggest factor that gets strangers to call us is because of our online reviews,” the Ruchti team says. Since they’ve been in the business for over a decade, the duo has accumulated over 500 five-star reviews.
Google and Yelp reviews are great, but the Ruchtis say the HAR Client Experience Rating has been instrumental in this part of their marketing. HAR sends out a link for clients to rate and review their experience with their Realtor, and since most buyers are on HAR, this is the biggest way to get reviews, according to the Ruchtis.
“This takes a lot of time and effort, but is really helpful over time because it shows that not only did you sell a house, but that people think highly of you after working with you,” Amanda Ruchti adds.
Utilize graphic tools made for novice designers
Musfy uses Canva, a graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content, to create marketing material for her business. The platform, which has both free and paid versions, also has templates for all kinds of graphics such as resumés, invoices, letters, social media posts, advertisements and more.
Join your local small business networking group
Dena Musfy says joining a small business networking (SBN) group has been essential to her sales team. These groups are allowed only one seat per profession, so you want to join quickly since there can be only one Realtor in the group. “The SBN group I’m in has great resources. We meet every single week and I get business and referrals from people I trust,” Musfy says.
Each week, members of the SBN group are required to bring at least one referral for other professionals in the group and complete one hour of continuing education (such as a podcast about your industry or small business). In addition, once a month, they must bring a visitor with them, which can be a small business such as a personal chef, massage therapist, pilates coach, plumber, etc. “These requirements not only help us network, but they also help us keep each other accountable and proactive in growing our business,” she adds.
Work with other small businesses
If joining an SBN isn’t possible for you, Musfy recommends working with other local businesses to get your name in front of as many people as possible. “Pick a farming or targeted area and hit it hard,” she says. “I like to partner up with local businesses and hold events at bars and other establishments. I also sponsor the neighborhood Easter egg hunt and do drawings for small prizes at the local gym.”
Musfy says the first two years are the hardest in terms of marketing and getting referrals. “Have some money saved before your start out, if you can,” she adds. “It takes time to get your business going. Be patient and stick with it!”
The Ruchtis say that consistency in asking every client for a review has been a game-changer in marketing their business, as well.
Know your market
This one may seem obvious, but a successful Realtor needs to know their market front and back to market their listings. “I was born and raised in Houston,” Musfy adds. “Knowing every nook and cranny of the market has been instrumental in my success.”