Farming is the term real estate professionals use to describe the marketing strategy of seeking clients in certain areas. Real estate agents have always chosen geographical areas and neighborhoods for successful farming. Farming is one of the most effective ways real estate agents get new leads and grow their business. To continue the practice, whether starting out or have been in the business for decades, real estate agents should consider using updated technology to reach audiences more efficiently.
The traditional marketing tools are all still working to some extent, some better than others.
- Postcards and other types of direct mail
- Promotional items such as calendars and pens
- Neighborhood and subdivision newsletter ads
- Bench and shopping cart ads
There are probably other innovative ways that real estate professionals are using to promote their business in neighborhoods. The point is that, though they may still generate business, there are new ways to get the job done; sometimes they're a lot less expensive than traditional advertising methods.
Blogging and Neighborhood Associations
If you blog, or even if you have a website that you can update easily, offer to run neighborhood announcements and information for associations. These types of organizations understand the value of internet exposure and may be willing to provide you with updates to post on your website or blog.
Though direct mail still produces leads, the vast majority of your prospects use and prefer email. Begin to develop an email list, and send regular newsletters via email instead of by snail mail. You'll definitely spend less money, and you can add interest to your newsletters by including links to current listings in the area. If you couple blogging with the auto-generated newsletter approach, you'll make regular contact with prospects without increasing your workload.
Regular Statistical Reporting
Use your multiple listing service's reporting tools to generate detailed reports of recent listings and sales in your farm area. Both buyers and sellers want a lot of information, and they love statistics about current market conditions and past sales, and your commentary on these topics builds your credibility as an expert. Use these reports in your email newsletters, and on your website and blog. I post teaser reports with good information on my website to pique my readers' interest. This type of information gets a lot of leads and email addresses for a newsletter.
Statistics, Texting, and Signs
If you're placing signs in an area, current news and statistics can help you hone your advertising message. Companies such as Altos Research and CoreLogic specialize in providing businesses with data to target marketing campaigns. Also, get creative with using technology to reach prospects in your farm area. For example, text messaging continues to be one of the leading ways that businesses, including real estate brokerage firms, reach consumers, so look into ways to use it.
In the end, that refrigerator magnet may still work, but take the return on investment compared to low-cost online marketing tools into consideration as you plan your marketing strategy.