February 03

Keys to Building a Successful Marketing Plan for Real Estate Agents

It's hard enough doing the day to day work of a real estate agent and having to invest time in building a marketing plan. This is why so few agents are successful in launching scalable marketing campaigns that bring in quality leads and listings. In order to be successful, you must have a plan that outlines the cost, expectations, and return on investment. 

If you are like most agents you may have tried everything - Google, Facebook Ads, Direct Mail, Email Marketing, SEO, Zillow, and many other channels to drive leads to your inbox. In some cases, you may have found success, and in some cases, you felt like you wasted your money. How can a marketing campaign be wildly successful and for another agent a complete failure? Obviously, there are agents who have success using one or all of the channels listed above, so what is their secret?

There is no secret. There was a plan.

There are Three Golden Rules in Marketing that are critical for a successful campaign. If you break these rules, you are increasing the likelihood of failure. 

RULE #1:  You Need a Plan (you can stick with for 12 months).

The reality is that marketing for a month or two doesn't work. It doesn't matter if your a real estate agent, restaurant or plumber. It is a waste of money. If you are thinking "I will try this for a couple months and see how it goes" - you are already doomed to fail. Don't get me wrong, it's healthy to evaluate your marketing plan, and make adjustments - but the idea that a marketing campaign will produce results in 30-60 days that prove it's success or failure is just flat wrong. You need to build a 12-month plan, and look at diversifying your time and money to ensure you can have the best chance for success. The 12 month plan should also have a defined budget, and a clear understanding of expectations. For example, if you are looking to generate 10 listings through your marketing plan, you need to understand how much you expect to pay per lead, what percentage of leads you will close and measure this throughout the year for each channel to ensure you reset expectations constantly. 

The general rule of thumb is a Marketing Plan should consist of these elements:

  • What Marketing Channels will you use (Direct Mail, Online Ads, Direct Email, Sphere Marketing, Phone Campaign, etc)
  • What do you expect to spend per lead for each channel (Cost Per Lead or CPL)
  • What percentage of leads do you expect to close (Conversion Rate %)
  • What is your estimated Income per Customer.

With these numbers, you can easily estimate your revenue, costs, and return on investment. (BUT Remember - you have to commit for a year, so make sure you have the budget set aside to follow though the entire plan)

RULE #2: Pick the Best Strategy for the Best Market

The bottom line is no agent is alike and no market is alike. You can't assume that every zip code has the same level of competition and same potential revenue from generating listings. Not only does the average market value of homes range, but more importantly the number of agents per total listings ranges as well. For example, if you are looking at a zip code and there are 100 agents and only 100 listings, then you are in a very competitive market, where getting a listing would be very tough. However, if you are in a zip code with 10 agents and 100 listings, it is much easier to win listings and market share. 

Looking at competition and the potential listing volume of a zip code before launching a marketing campaign is critical when understanding what it will take for a marketing campaign to be successful. This is the #1 Reason why most marketing campaigns fail - because the agent invests for a few months thinking they should be winning listings, but not realizing there are 50+ other agents who are spending way more in marketing and have been for a while.

When you develop your strategy, you need to understand competition, listing volume and set expectations on time and money required to win.

(You can easily generate a marketing plan using by typing in the zip and it will show this key information)

RULE #3: Don't Be Boring

The final rule is somewhat easy to understand buy very difficult to execute (especially in real estate). Obviously, the biggest concern is that your marketing campaigns "blend" in with everyone else, and you don't rise above the noise. As we discussed in Rule #2 - it's important to surpass your competition and take away market share by building brand equity. It is difficult to do this without a compelling call-to-action and a unique message to the market. In some cases (and markets) you can be very creative and quirky with your marketing and it works. In other cases, you need to be more traditional (which doesn't mean you need to be boring). For example, beautifully staged photos of amazing properties are exciting for buyers and sellers to browse. It's important to invest time and energy into your brand and messaging before you invest your marketing dollar. You want your message to stick. 

Ready to Get Started?

Here are the next steps to put this into action:

1. Generate a marketing plan at

2. Choose the Zip or Zips you want to target.

3. Determine the budget

4. Choose one or more Marketing channels 

5. Develop a strong call to action and "non-boring" creative to drive your brand.

6. Launch Campaigns

7. Convert Leads.

8. Measure Results / Re-Evaluate - Make changes

9. Stick with the Plan


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