6 ways an assistant should market listings

Attracting qualified buyers to purchase properties is one of the most important skills that sellers expect their agents to have. As an assistant, you can be very useful in helping your agent reach the right customers. In this blog you’ll learn more about how to help marketing listings to sell a home.

#1. Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The first place your agent will want to put a listing is in the MLS, or multiple listing service, a task that is often the responsibility of the assistant. This database of listings offers agents a centralized location to post details on the properties they have for sale and is an industry standard.

Accuracy in preparing a listing cannot be overstated. Not only is the MLS the central location for your listing, but websites that are accessible to any potential home buyer, such as Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com, use the data directly from the MLS. So remember to check and double-check that the specifications and descriptions for the site are exactly as you want them.

Besides the standard form data, which includes details on the home such as square footage and the number of rooms, you’ll have an opportunity to provide a description. This description will appear on the listing sheet and on any websites that pick up MLS data. It’s important that this copy is focused on selling the home, and should be treated like any other marketing material.

#2. Uploading and Optimizing Photography

Photography is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan and should be handled with care. You may consider outsourcing listing photos to a professional company. Along with ensuring that your photographs are of the best quality, there are a number of other concerns when preparing your photos to upload. 

Photos should be beautifully lit, color-corrected, cropped properly and show off your property’s best qualities. In addition, your MLS may have limits on the size and dimensions of the individual images you upload, so familiarize yourself with its requirements before you begin.

Most MLS allow a maximum of 25 photos, but don’t confuse quantity with quality. A photo of the exterior of the home is standard, and it’s a good strategy to have at least one photo per each feature mentioned in your description. For example, a description that mentions an attached garage, a bay window and high ceilings should have photographs that show each of these features.

#3. Social Media

The most popular social media platforms used in real estate are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your agent might use one, some or all of these. Each platform comes with its own set of analytics, so you can easily see if your posts are effective in driving engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Facebook and Twitter allow you to schedule posts, but if you’re using more than one platform, a dashboard like Hootsuite allows you to generate all your posts from a central location. Depending on your subscription level, you can easily replicate posts across platforms and receive great analytics to help you determine how well your posts are performing.

#4. Traditional Advertising

In many cases, traditional media is still very effective for the real estate business. Your agent may be getting great results from direct mail postcards and advertising in print and online.

Using postcards to let neighbors know what was just listed or just sold works because it offers market information, as well as exposure for listings and the agent. Make sure the photos look great, the message and the call to action are clear, and that the brand is properly reflected. Advertising in print is effective in certain markets, not in others.

Online advertising allows potential clients to click through the ad to the agent’s website or email. And don’t forget to look into marketing opportunities on syndication sites like Zillow. These can help with lead generation. Ultimately, advertising works best when you know who your target market is and how to best reach them.

#5. Surveys, Testimonials and Reviews

And there is much more marketing that you can help with as an assistant. A completed transaction is not the end of the relationship. There is still marketing work to do! It’s a good idea to send a survey to clients after a transaction is finished to let them share the pros and cons of their experience with the agent. This information is useful to agents so they can make improvements to their systems and services.

And getting testimonials and reviews on sites like Yelp can really help an agent get new clients and stand out from the competition.

There are third party survey services that are simple and inexpensive to put into practice. This should be part of your operating procedure at the close of every sale. 

#6. Participate in the Neighborhood

Lastly, one of the best ways to market the business is by simply being top of mind when it comes to real estate in a given neighborhood. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by actually spending time participating in the community. Suggest that your agent sponsor neighborhood events, have a presence at festivals and town meetings, and consider volunteering at the local school. You may want to keep track of event opportunities for your agent and maybe even attend yourself. Seek out opportunities to put your agent in front of the right target market.

No one likes someone who only talks business, but there’s nothing wrong with being helpful and relevant. If you keep your ears open and engage with people, you will find organic ways to help market the company and make it truly feel like part of the neighborhood.

It’s important to remember that selling homes is just one part of an agent’s business. It’s just as imperative to ensure that agents have a future flow of potential customers and that the brand and reputation is being managed in the best way. To learn more about an assistant’s role working with an agent, sign up for AgentEDU’s Assistant Certification Course, an 8-part course designed to teach assistants everything they’ll need to set their agent up for success.

The Real Estate Agent’s Simple 3-Step Marketing Plan

With 2016 well underway, your marketing plan should be set in action.

Many agents we ask about marketing here at AgentEDU will immediately launch into tactics, without the context of larger goals or strategies. It makes sense, since tactics—the actual steps you will take to achieve something—are concrete and easy to check off as they’re completed.

Many agents have an intuitive view of their goals (“sell more”) but breaking them down into actionable steps can be deceptively tricky. The truth is that many agents don’t understand the difference between objectives, strategies and tactics, and how these elements fit together to form a marketing plan.

So let’s break them down with a simple example.

We’ll take an “inverted pyramid” approach. Divide your 2016 marketing plan into these three components:

  1. Objectives
  2. Strategies
  3. Tactics

Step One: Objectives

The first step is to identify your objectives. Objectives are the goals of your marketing efforts. They must be specific and measurable, and should be tied to a timeline. When you plan to accomplish something is just as important as how you plan to do it.

Let’s say your objective is to increase referrals by 20 percent by the end of 2016 (an admirable goal, since according to NAR’s 2015 Member Profile, 20 percent of the typical Realtor’s business is already accounted for by referrals.) You’ve established what needs to happen, and by when.

The second step to getting more referrals is to define the strategy you’ll use to meet that goal.

Step Two: Strategy

Strategy is often confused with tactics. Strategy is how you plan to get from Point A to Point B (plane? Train? Automobile?) while the tactics are the tasks you complete to move forward (buy your ticket early, pack light, stock up on road snacks). Strategy, therefore, is the broad look at how you are going to achieve your objective.

To meet the objective of increasing referrals by 20 percent by the end of the year, some strategies could include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Strengthen past client relationships
  • Develop a more compelling marketing message (redefine why customers should choose you)

…and so on.

Depending on the scale and timeline of the objective, you may need to use multiple strategies.

The third step is to define your tactics.

Step Three: Tactics

Once you’ve identified the strategies you need to reach your objectives, you can start to identify the specific tactics you can use to make it happen.

Let’s say you went with the “strengthen past client relationships” strategy to meet the objective of increasing referrals by 20 percent by the end of 2016. Your tactics may include:

  • Snail mail a quarterly newsletter to past clients
  • Send out holiday cards with a personal touch
  • Start a monthly email newsletter
  • Send client appreciation gifts
  • Initiate follow-up satisfaction calls with clients six months after closing

If you decide to go with the strategy of “increasing brand awareness,” you may include these tactics:

  • Run ads with local publications
  • Take out a bus bench ad
  • Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Update the design of your printed materials (brochures, For Sale signs, etc.)

Like business objectives, tactics should be tied to a timeline. Set a deadline for the completion of each task that’s tied to one of your tactics ­– this is especially important if you’ll be delegating any of those tasks.

Defining marketing objectives, strategies and tactics isn’t difficult, but it does require careful thought and consideration, something many busy agents might not think they have time for. Agents with good business instincts are likely following this structure in their marketing in some way already, though the marketing plan may not be formally documented anywhere.

A clear definition of what you want to accomplish with your marketing and how you will get there is one key component of growing your real estate business.

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