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Real estate has always been about in-person interactions. But how do you keep building meaningful connections among growing competition…and in an increasingly virtual setting? While your knack for networking and expertise in the industry are still central to marketing success, there is a lot more you can do to stay at the top of your game in the new year – especially as you’re gearing up for the busy season.
Here are 12 real estate marketing ideas that are easy to implement – and don’t require big budgets or much technical knowledge.
- Build a wow-worthy website.
- Organize virtual tours and viewings.
- Get social.
- Experiment with experiential marketing.
- Offer clients a moving truck.
- Surprise them with a welcome gift.
- Promote with a postcard.
- Make the most of yard signs.
- Craft a useful brochure.
- Stay local when staging.
- Run irresistible partnership offers.
- Sponsor a local event.
Cultivate your online presence
A lot of industries have moved their playing field at least partially online (especially in the last year), and real estate is no different. Most people like to do some window-shopping online before they’re ready to commit to an in-person house viewing these days – it’s safer and so much more convenient. Make your digital experience memorable for potential customers, and profitable for you, with these tips.
1. Build a wow-worthy website.
Open houses and yard signs are far from extinct (we’ll get to those later), but in a world that’s going contactless, a website is a litmus test of your expertise. If you don’t have one, or it fails to impress, a competitor is only a click away.
A good website will engage and inform, and make it easy for your customer to take the next step – whether it’s filling out an information request or calling you to make an offer. Here’s what to include when you’re building or refreshing your real estate website.
- Let your personality shine through. It’s one of your best assets as a small business owner! Allow it to come alive in your brand’s colours, the words you write and the stories you tell. Add a photo of yourself, too, whether a headshot or a family photo. Show your expertise, but remember to stay approachable and human in order to build genuine relationships with your customers.
- Invest in high-quality photography. Don’t limit yourself to interiors – tell a story through lifestyle images depicting what life is like in a particular neighbourhood. Should customers expect tree-lined streets or towering skyscrapers? Family-friendly parks or bustling nightlife?
- Add interactive features. Add a ‘share’ button to your listings so potential buyers can send your website link via email or text, or create a ‘favourites’ option that lets customers save their most-loved properties to a dedicated list.
- Optimize your website for mobile phone screens. Ensure that photo galleries are easy to navigate, and that your desktop formatting transfers nicely to mobile. Ask friends and family to test out your site on their phones before you publish.
- Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Display your contact details and business hours clearly, or include a prominent link to a contact page.
Make sure potential customers can find you with a search-friendly website. Vistaprint’s Search Engine Listings Manager makes it easy – let us do the work and we’ll get your website listed across 20+ search engines.
2. Organize virtual tours and viewings.
In an age of mobile phones and video communication apps (hello, TikTok!), there are many simple and affordable alternatives to the traditional open house. Some people may not feel comfortable venturing out – so give them an at-home alternative to an in-person tour. You don’t need any fancy equipment or special software…just jump on a video call and show clients around the house. Talk them through each room, offer close-up shots of special details and answer their questions as you go.
As an alternative to a ‘live’ tour, consider filming a tour on your smartphone, narrating as you go. This video tour can be embedded in the listing page on your website, uploaded to your business YouTube account and social channels or emailed to busy prospective buyers. For something extra, consider incorporating some drone footage – work with a local photographer to capture all of the property’s best angles.
3. Get social.
Most of your customers probably use at least one social media platform. So, go meet them where they’re hanging out! Focus your efforts on a few platforms that best serve your goals so you don’t end up spread too thin.
Real estate is so visual – and Pinterest is a great way to showcase your portfolio of professional property shots. Create dedicated boards for each listing or location, so potential buyers can learn more about a specific property or neighbourhood. To ensure your pins are searchable, remember to include relevant keywords in your image captions and a link back to your website.
If you’re looking to create buzz around your best listings, head over to Instagram. Share snippets of your personality in Instagram Stories, post a Reel of some behind-the-scenes footage and engage with your customers through fun polls and Q&As. And if a house has been updated, make sure to show off those before and after photos.
Facebook is still a popular marketing option, especially if you organize events. Come up with a catchy name for your next open house and choose an attractive photo to go with it. For a small budget, you can easily promote your event to get the word out, and keep track of who RSVP’d.
Go the extra mile
For a small business owner, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool – and your customers will definitely spread the word if you go above and beyond. Surprising your customers with thoughtful details is the best way to earn this much-coveted (and free!) type of advertisement. Here are a few things you can try.
4. Experiment with experiential marketing.
Invite your customers to engage with your business in a real-world setting through an in-person event. If you can create a unique experience your customers will find either useful or entertaining (ideally, both), you’re sure to stick in their mind.
For example, you could take interested homebuyers on a tour of a neighbourhood where your listings are located. Show them the best bakeries, the freshest fruit stalls and a cozy café that only locals know about.
You can also organize a home buying seminar – in person, or over Zoom – and walk your customers through all the important steps of purchasing a house. Partner with a financial advisor or an interior decorator for an all-inclusive experience that’s sure to get people talking. When they’re ready to make an offer, they’ll almost certainly call you.
5. Offer them a moving truck – with your name on it.
Now, here’s something you do want to brand – a moving truck. Surprise your clients with this highly useful complimentary (or steeply-discounted) service to earn major kudos and – almost certainly – a referral or two. Plus, you’ll give the neighbourhood a taste of your brand identity when you’re driving around town.
6. Surprise them with a welcome gift.
We all love gifts, especially when they’re unexpected. A personalized closing gift is a great token of appreciation for your clients (and it earns you appreciation in return).
The opportunities are endless – a dinner at a great neighbourhood restaurant, a consultation with a landscaper or a membership pass to a local gym or athletic club. Get creative, but above all, get to know your customers so that you can give them a personalized ‘welcome home’ present they will love.
Another (possibly counter-intuitive) piece of advice: don’t brand your gift! Make it about the customer, not you, and you’re sure to be remembered affectionately. *Do* include a personalized note card so they know who it’s from!
Give them something to hold
Although a strong online presence is necessary to stay ahead of the game in business, don’t forgo printed materials altogether. You’ll still get the most benefit from your marketing if you combine print and digital media and make them work together.
Here are a few new ways to use the classic real estate print pieces.
7. Promote with a postcard.
You can always use a postcard to send a coupon code or a special offer to qualified leads. But how about having some more fun with it? For example, you can run a competition to gather new prospects’ email addresses and award one lucky winner a real estate photography session or a home valuation report.
To get as many entries as possible, make it really easy to participate. A clear and visible call to action and an uncluttered design are the way to go. For extra ease of use, add a QR code that leads directly to your website with a simple scan.
8. Make the most of yard signs.
Yard signs are almost synonymous with real estate. For the greatest impact, keep the design simple and focus on one or two key messages. Make your sign more personal by adding the realtor’s name and keep the contact number front and center – or even add a QR code. It should always be easy for prospects to find your contact info and get in touch with you.
To get the most out of your sign, try adding an upgrade:
- Attach a solar powered light clip to catch passerby attention in the evening.
- Install a brochure box on the frame for the passersby who’d like to know more.
9. Craft a useful brochure.
Brochures give you a bit more space to play with, and they’re one of the most popular forms of leave behinds. Use one to clearly communicate your brand value and what sets you apart from your competitors.
For a fun twist on a traditional brochure, make it more about your customer and less about you. Turn it into a reference piece they will want to keep by including practical information in addition to details about your business. Think: tips for home staging, interior photography best practices or financial homebuying advice. Or, create a brochure that includes insider info about the neighbourhoods you sell in – easy-to-read maps, a list of the best schools and your favourite places to eat.
Partner with other local businesses
Collaborations with other small businesses in your area add value to your offering and help both you and your fellow business owners reach new audiences. It’s a total small business win-win! Here are a few ideas to explore:
10. Stay local when staging.
Use a home stager in your area, or do it yourself with furniture and decor from local small business owners. Make sure potential buyers know that everything (not just the house!) is for sale, so if they fall in love with a sofa or chandelier they can purchase it with – or without – the house itself.
Take home staging a step further and host a pop-up shop at your next open house. Call on local artists, makers and vendors to display their products throughout the home. Not only will you attract more visitors, but it’ll be easier to get them into every room.
11. Craft a useful brochure.
Partner with complementary service providers to cross-promote each other. Home decorators, gardeners, property managers, cleaners…they all make worthy partners whose service would most likely interest and benefit a homebuyer. And if their existing clients are looking for a new property, they’ll likely be referred to you.
12. Sponsor a local event
Contribute to your community by providing resources where they’re needed and get brand exposure in return. Think local sporting events, farmers markets, county fairs or community concerts. Have your marketing materials at the ready, whether you’re passing out magnets or offering free real estate consultations.
Real estate marketing
- Cultivate your online presence.
- Go the extra mile.
- Give them something to hold on to.
- Partner with other local businesses.