If you want to be able to build a portfolio of properties as a real estate investor, you’ll need marketing. Marketing connects you directly to the people who are ready and willing to sell. After all, if you don’t reach them first, someone else will.
Don’t worry if you have developed a plan yet. Most successful real estate investors had to start from zero. Developing a plan isn’t difficult. In this short real estate marketing guide, you’ll learn to design one from scratch.
How to write a real estate marketing plan in 5 steps:
- Step 1: Define Your Goals
- Step 2: Identify Your Key Property Sellers
- Step 3: Choose Where You’ll Reach Them
- Step 4: Set a Budget for Expenses
- Step 5: Choose How You’re Going to Measure Your Results
For each of these steps, you’ll learn what’s involved, why it matters, and what modern tools you can use to make it easier on yourself. You should start by defining your goals.
Step 1: Define your goals
Defining your goals is the first step of developing a marketing plan. These plans are always going to be highly customized to your resources and needs. It’s important that you consider what those are before you borrow anything from someone else.
Start with your most important goal. This should be a statement of intent that directs the rest of your plan. For property investors, a goal might be:
Property Investor Goals
- (short-term) To secure a high-value property
- (long-term) To increase the value of each property you sell by building better leads
- (long-term) To develop a wider audience so you’ll get leads before other investors
If you can, you should also break down your goal into sub-goals. Your sub-goals will be based on the steps that you may need to take depending on the operation you have now.
Below are some examples of sub-goals based on the sample goal: To develop a wider audience so you’ll get leads before other investors
Examples of sub-goals for developing a wider audience
1) Build out profiles on major social media networks
2) Develop a brand as a low-fuss buyer (“I buy ugly houses”, or “I can help you close fast)
Once you have your goals in mind, you’re ready to start exploring how you’re going to get there. In all cases, you’re going to need to identify who you will be targeting.
Step 2: Identify your key property sellers
One of the most important steps in generating a marketing plan is identifying the people you will be targeting. You need to focus on a particular segment of the property-selling market to control your marketing costs.
A time-tested way of doing this is to create profiles of your ideal target. You’re going to build a list of assumptions about what your target looks like.
You’ll apply these assumptions when you’re choosing where to reach them. You want to consider :
- Their age
- Income levels/value of property
- Their motivation for selling
In marketing, these profiles are known as “personas.” Developing a persona is typically the work of professional marketers. They use templates, data, and market research that is not widely available.
However, you can create some simplified personas by using the information you have at hand.
Using Google, you may be able to find data about the average age of people who live in the neighborhood or surrounding area. This will give you some clues on where they may be looking for buyers online.
You can always refer to what you know about people you have purchased properties from in the past.
After you’ve created a small list of the attributes of people you’re targeting, you need to choose the platforms where you’ll reach them.
Step 3: Choose where you’ll reach them
Your platform is not as much of a “choice” as it used to be. Lately, listings are dominated by several major players who control the lion’s share of all real estate traffic.
Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and a few other sites are the first stop for most residential property sellers. These companies have an invested a significant amount into making listings easy to create.
You have limited options for “marketing” to users of these platforms. It will be difficult to influence them in any form except in your offer.
If you focus on homes that are listed as “for sale by owner”, you can use your messages to emphasize what you offer in a quick sale.
Experiment with different opening messages where you lead with different advantages. You can focus on promising to close as soon as possible, offer to pay in cash, or mention other ways you can keep things convenient.
You can achieve far more with marketing If you’re trying to build a wider operation to reach people. For that, you’ll also need a presence on most major social media sites:
- Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for social media marketing
- YouTube for video marketing
- A personal website for content marketing
Any platform you will use will require investment. It’s important to consider what kind of costs you are looking at before you make your final plans.
Step 4: Set a budget for expenses
A firm budget is an essential part of any marketing plan. Your marketing plan is there to help you make money. If it starts costing more than it’s worth, you’d be better off without it.
The first thing you need to set is your upper limit. You should have a figure in mind that cannot be exceeded during the planning stages. Your expenses may include:
- Research for different parts of the plan (consulting or subscriptions to data services)
- Contract employees (web development for websites, graphic design for ads)
- Subscription services for special platform features
- Answering services for responders
Do your best to plot out all of the expenses that will go into your plan before you finalize it. You may need to cut parts out of your plan if you can’t even make the budget work on paper.
It’s difficult to figure out what’s really going to provide the value in a plan before you test it out. That’s why measuring the results as you go is such an important part of the plan.
Step 5: Measure your results
Most plans will not work perfectly when they’re first put in place. That’s no reason to throw away all the work that you’ve done so far. The final (repeating) step is to measure your results so that you know what needs to be adjusted.
This is a three-step process where you’ll need to set (Key Performance Indicators) KPIs, the time that will pass between each assessment, and the backups plans that will kick into gear.
Your KPIs are the effects of your plan that you can measure in real numbers. You need KPIs because you can’t trust your feelings on whether your plan is working or not.
Sometimes, these plans can take a long time to get off the ground. That can be frustrating and disheartening. KPIs will tell you if there is real growth happening so that you don’t abandon a plan that just needs a little more time to pay off.
The following are some examples of KPIs that you can track for real estate investment marketing:
- Leads collected (and leads qualified)
- Revenue generated
- profit generated
- Website traffic growth
- The ratio of visitors who convert into leads
Set the timeline for assessing your plan
You will need to take some time to assess your marketing plan and how well you’re progressing with KPIs. Regular intervals will help you measure a lot of useful information. For example, they’ll give you insight on:
- Whether your KPIs are improving over time
- The velocity of the growth (whether it is slow or rapid)
- Whether the growth is consistent or rises and dips randomly
Many real estate investors choose to measure their plans quarterly. That will give you plenty of time to measure what’s working.
Prepare backups for the parts of the plan that aren’t effective
By this stage in the plan, you’ve likely made a lot of decisions. If this is your first marketing plan, you need to make sure that you prepare some backups. You should consider:
- A list of extra platforms in case one closes, or you are prevented from using it
- Backup candidates for photographers, graphic designers, or developers
- Alternative personas of your targets that you can test against the first model you chose
When you’ve developed a method to measure your marketing plan, you’re ready to put everything in motion.
Start developing your marketing plan today
Now, you understand what it takes to develop a startup real estate investing marketing plan.
Remember that you need to start by identifying your goals. After that, you need to do some basic research on the property sellers you will be targeting. When you know more about them, you can easily choose your marketing platforms and set a budget to cover your expenses.
No plan is complete until you’ve tested it. Move forward with your strategy by measuring your results. Make adjustments when you can’t complete your goals, and over time, you’ll create an excellent custom plan.