Friday, January 22, 2010

Create a Marketing Plan

Create a Personal Marketing Plan

Now that you’ve embarked on your new real estate career, one of the most important things to do is to let people know about it. Personal marketing is the process of getting your name “out there,” so that people think of you when they need to buy or sell a home.

How do you do that? The first step is to develop a Personal Marketing Plan, a written document that describes your business goals and how you plan to achieve them. The plan should include:

Objectives and goals. Clearly state what you want to accomplish for yourself in your new career—is it letting all of your family and friends know that you’re in real estate, attaining 10 listings in your first year, or achieving name recognition in 50 percent of your target market area? Be sure to quantify your goals so you can measure your accomplishments.

Audience. Who is your target market? Is it everyone within a particular geographic area? Is it certain type of homes or a particular group of like-minded people? You shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. It’s a good idea to select one or two groups to target with your marketing efforts.

Differentiation. What makes you unique? Setting yourself apart from other salespeople is essential in a crowded marketplace. Decide how you’ll approach real estate sales to set yourself apart from others in your market. Also determine whom you will appeal to, and tailor your message to this audience.

Media. Determine which media—print advertising, brochures, Web site, in-person marketing, community involvement—you’ll use to get the word out about your services. Focus on two or three media initially to control marketing costs and determine effectiveness.

Action plan and schedule. Establish a detailed to-do list to execute your marketing plan. You need to be consistent in your marketing and stick to a marketing approach for at least six months. Repetition is the key to having prospects remember you. For a sample action plan for a salesperson with limited marketing funds, click here .

Budget. Once you have a marketing plan, establish a budget. It may be tough to think about spending money when you may not have made much, or any, money in real estate yet. But most veteran practitioners agree that setting a marketing budget from the beginning of your career to promote yourself and your services is essential to achieving success in real estate. (See the following section, Develop Marketing Materials , for a list of the marketing materials—business cards, brochures, and so on—you’ll need.)

Determine how much you need to spend to acquire the basic marketing materials by getting estimates from vendors. To get started, you can spend a small amount to have your business cards and personal brochures made now and then allocate, say, 10 percent of your commission in the first few years to develop other marketing materials.

Once you have a marketing plan and budget in place, be sure to re-evaluate it each year. It’s important to determine if you’ve met your goals for the year, and if you haven’t, decide what you need to do differently the following year to accomplish your goals. You also should increase your goals or set new priorities each year to ensure that you continue to grow your success.