Realtors who are beginning to market their services often make a few of the same mistakes.
Many of these mistakes are backed up by myths that may seem like common sense — but just aren’t supported by what we know about marketing right now.
These are five of the most tenacious myths about real estate marketing and how they may be holding back your marketing strategy.
1. A Website Is All You Need to Grow Leads
It’s easy to believe a website on its own will draw traffic, with no further work required.
In fact, businesses of all kinds put significant effort towards growing traffic. SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, social media marketing — these are all necessary strategies if you want to grow the traffic your site receives.
Once you’ve got your business website up and running, it’s also a good idea to start working on some kind of strategy that will draw traffic to your site and help you find new potential clients. Many different strategies can work for this purpose — but you should, at least, make sure your site is optimized for web searches.
2. A Good Service Will Sell Itself
Many realtors hope that, if their service is good enough, it will sell itself — little to no marketing required. Unfortunately, you’re likely up against realtors who provide high-quality services and who’ve invested heavily in marketing those services.
While word-of-mouth buzz from satisfied clients can go a long way in securing new leads, you’ll likely get left behind if you skip out on marketing altogether. Some level of advertising and marketing will be necessary if you want to secure leads, generate conversions, and grow your real estate business.
3. Direct Mail Marketing (and Physical Marketing) Is Outdated
This is a common marketing myth, and one that you’re likely to see in advice targeted at industries of all kinds.
Many online articles advise business owners to ditch physical marketing in favor of digital marketing methods — or, in some cases, they forget to mention the older methods altogether.
There are some benefits that digital marketing has over traditional methods. It’s typically much easier to gather data on potential customers and measure campaign ROI, for example, with online advertising, than with anything involving physical media.
However, research shows that direct mail marketing can be just as effective as email. In some cases, surveys even find that direct mail marketing may be better.
For example, the Data & Marketing Association found that direct mail had a response rate of 5.1% in 2017. In contrast, the average click-through rate for emails was just 2.6%, according to Campaign Monitor data.
Similarly, physical signs — a favorite of many realtors — can also be just as effective as digital advertisements. They offer some major benefits to realtors, like visibility and portability, and can help drive surprising amounts of foot traffic to listings.
However, you need to make sure you use them in the right way. Many ad firms, for example, say that an effective sign should be double-sided, placed in a high-traffic area, and kept simple enough for passersby to understand almost immediately.
4. Once You Have Enough Leads, You Can Stop Marketing
Marketing should be an ongoing effort — you try out ad campaigns and marketing strategies, see what works, and iterate again. Importantly, this process needs to keep going, even if you have a good number of leads to work with.
There are two reasons for this. First, leads aren’t guaranteed sales. Even the most apparently interested potential client may have their circumstances change or decide they just don’t need the services you offer.
Having leads now also doesn’t guarantee leads later. You may find that if you hold off on marketing because you have a decent number of leads, you may be stuck in the future with too few leads to pursue. This may force you to ramp up marketing again — creating a reactive, uneven marketing strategy that may not be as sustainable or effective as one that’s planned in advance.
5. More Spending = More Leads (and More Sales)
Some newer marketers expect to grow leads or generate more sales every time they boost their marketing spend.
The effectiveness of your marketing isn’t just based on how much you spend. Even when you budget more for marketing, you may not see changes in your ROI — at least, not immediate ones, and potentially not proportionate to the money you spend.
The quality of your marketing isn’t directly correlated to how much you spend. Well-targeted marketing that takes advantage of a channel and is a good fit for your particular target audience will work better than marketing that goes after a broader, less-well-defined audience.
Often, businesses spend a lot of money on marketing research to learn what their customers are most likely to respond to. This spending helps them optimize their marketing budgets and invest in the strategies that work.
Marketing is also a long-term effort. Early marketing investments may only pay off at some point down the line — meaning it’s not always possible to calculate the full ROI of an investment on a short time scale.
Learn to Recognize These Common Real Estate Marketing Myths
These myths often pop up in discussions of real estate marketing. As common as they are, they aren’t backed up by current data on digital or physical marketing — and they can seriously limit the effectiveness of your marketing strategy if you buy into them.
If you can avoid these myths — by investing in direct mail, driving traffic to your website, and marketing even when you have leads to follow up on — you can avoid many of the pitfalls that realtors run into when marketing their services.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.