What Is Real Estate Farming?

San Antonio, Texas suburban housing development neighborhood - aerial view
••• dszc / Getty Images

There's one thing that almost all successful real estate agents have done to develop their business in a specific area or market demographic. They "farm" the area for business.

The term farm implies growing something; that's what you do when you farm a local subdivision or neighborhood. You plant the seeds of future business, nurture them with marketing, and then hopefully reap the rewards in commissions. Farming can involve direct mail, door knocking, postcards, newsletters, email, or any other form of advertising. The key to farming an area is to do it with regularity and keep on your message.

The Farming Game Plan

You don't just jump in and start spending money mailing out postcards or refrigerator magnets. Well, maybe some do, but it may not be a very good return on one's money and time. You need to develop a marketing plan for your farming.

Identify the Target Audience

It's easy to say that your target is the XYZ Subdivision, and maybe that's enough. However, will you be spending money marketing to the wrong demographic in that subdivision? What if it's a large subdivision that was built in phases?

Perhaps there are homes in two or more price ranges. If so, you may only want to farm the area with higher prices. Do enough research to know that you're marketing to a viable audience who you would want listing or buying through you.

Quantify Your Market

Next, do a count or go to a database or mailing list marketer to determine the size of your marketing target. This is necessary for budgeting. Perhaps you'll even want to refine your target more carefully if your potential audience is too big for your budget.

Know Your Market and What Will Work

Now that you have your list and you know something about them, who are they and are there commonalities other than just where they live? Is the area full of retirees or empty nesters? Or are the majority of residents younger families? If it's a broad mix, then a general marketing plan and campaign might be fine. Maybe it's a mix, but only two major groups, such as young families and mid-life career people.

Statistics Always Work

No matter what you find for common ground, the one thing everybody always wants to know is their home's potential value in the current market. Even if they aren't thinking of selling, they like to keep up with what their home is probably worth in the current market climate.

Go to your multiple listing service (MLS) and check out the type of reports you can output. There should be sold property reports by timeframe. If you're going to do a mailer, postcard, letter, or email newsletter, you can position yourself as the local expert with statistics.

Using Statistics in Advertising

Tease with a link. If you want leads, be sure to put your phone number and contact info on all mailers. But if you want to get them to your website and work them as productive leads, give them a few stats in your mailer and give them a simple link they can type in to get to the full report page on your site. You could also include a QR code that they could scan to get to your website.

Once prospects are on your website, take them to the full report. Offer them a monthly or quarterly report via email if they'll sign up. The ones with the most interest will sign up, as they'll want the information without having to go to the site again to get it. This is how you move your mailer recipients to your website and then into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

You can send out postcards with your newest listing, but for the long haul and the most leads, use this plan and leverage current statistics. You'll be glad you did.