Cut Through the Clutter & Stand Out
Think back to the recession when homeowners were deep underwater in their mortgages, when many walked away and others tried short-selling their homes.
Seemingly overnight, every other real estate agent on the planet became a “short sale expert.”
We now know how dangerous that was. Homeowners represented by agents who hadn’t a clue about the intricacies of the process littered the internet with their stories of failure.
While calling yourself a “neighborhood expert” when you truly aren’t isn’t as potentially damaging to a client as pretending to be an expert in short sales, it’s still dishonest.
And, if you are a member of NAR, you know that dishonesty is an ethics violation (Article 12).
We think it’s rather impossible that the vast majority of agents are true neighborhood experts, yet they label themselves as such. So, how do you, the true expert, cut through their clutter and stand out?
It takes more than a statement on your website or business card. Let’s consider some ways to prove to potential clients that you are what you say you are.
1. Prove it in your marketing materials
True neighborhood experts, by and large, market to farm areas. Whether that is a condo community, a ZIP Code or by subdivision, focusing on a smaller pool of homeowners is a brilliant way to become known as the expert in a community.
The best way to reach these homeowners or tenants or whomever you are targeting is via direct mail. It’s quick, it’s inexpensive and it works.
Neighborhood sales update marketing
Here’s an idea of what to send to your chosen neighborhood: Neighborhood Update postcards that include current neighborhood home sale details – information homeowners value. It shows them that you know your stuff and are on top of what’s happening in their area.
When sending neighborhood updates or CMA reports, ensure that your explanation is in plain English. Unless you explain the meaning, avoid insider jargon, such as:
- “absorption rate”
- “months’ supply of real estate inventory” (what does months’ supply and “inventory” mean?),
- “the median price range” (explain median vs. average)
- “time on market” or “days on market” (why is this important to the average homeowner thinking of selling?)
We found lots of other examples online of what to avoid in your updates or CMA reports. Here’s one:
“In January, sales dollar volume increased year over year by 3% to $599,080,374. New listings rose 22% to 2,820, active listings increased 21% to 5,840 and pending sales increased 11% to 2,452. Monthly housing inventory increased by 0.4 months to 2.3 months.”
“Sales dollar volume” is meaningless to a homeowner. We would reword the paragraph to read more like a narrative than a dry list of statistics:
In January, 22 percent more homeowners put their homes on the market here in Any town than in December. As quickly as they’re listed, however, buyers snap them up. One indication of that is the increase in pending sales, which were up 11 percent more than pending sales in December.”
Since potential home sellers are your primary audience when farming, leave out the increase in inventory unless it’s significant (0.4 months isn’t). And, if you must express inventory in “months,” do the readers a solid and explain what that means.
Additional farming pieces include:
- The Market Dominator an automated mega-newsletter that’s sent to an exclusive carrier route monthly through the use of EDDM.
- Just listed and just sold postcards.
- Community Newsletters
- Call to Action postcards with a Free Market Analysis Offer
2. Prove your neighborhood expertise on your website
Your website provides the ideal platform to strut your neighborhood expertise. Start by ensuring its localized.
So many agents pay the big bucks for a professional website and fail to remove or change the template text that comes with it.
Add your market area everywhere possible, starting with the above-the-fold area on your home page. Don’t make visitors wonder where on earth you sell real estate.
Create a neighborhoods section on your site and fill it with valuable, hyper-local content. In-depth neighborhood descriptions, quotes from folks who live in the neighborhood about why they love it, links to listings and lots of photos are the bare necessities for neighborhood pages.
Finally, if you don’t have a blog, start one. It’s the ideal place to post local content and, if promoted across your social media platforms, it will help drive traffic back to your site.
3. Prove it in person
Get your face known around your chosen neighborhood(s). There are many ways to accomplish creating visibility. Here are a few:
- Hold home seller seminars in the area.
- Join the PTA.
- Sponsor a community sports team and, in exchange, ask that your banner be displayed at games. And, do attend the games.
- Join the neighborhood YMCA or gym.
- Attend the HOA meetings.
- Host a monthly coffee-and-pastry or happy hour events at the neighborhood café or watering hole.
- Patronize neighborhood merchants and introduce yourself. Become a repeat customer.
Your aim is for people to think that they see you everywhere they go. Talk to folks, hand out your business card.
If you are truly the neighborhood expert, you need to prove it. It’s a brilliant way to stand out among the pretenders.
Send at least 100 Neighborhood Update postcards to an area where you want to brand yourself as the “True” neighborhood expert.
Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!
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