Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Real estate marketing tools have evolved and are now dominated by digital media. But that begs the question: which ones should you use? There are the “must haves” and the “nice to haves” and the challenge for real estate agents is deciding which ones should be part of your real estate marketing plan. In addition, are there old school, non-digital tools that you still need because they remain effective? Let’s examine the best real estate agent marketing tools across the board.
The danger of the proliferation of digital tools, specifically those used as real estate marketing tools, is that they can overwhelm you. You can, in desperation, decide you need to use all of them and freeze up, like a deer in the headlights. You probably understand that marketing is a big part of your business and success, but you are in fact in the real estate business, not the marketing business. Balancing the marketing of your practice and the actual selling side of the business can be tough. When push comes to shove, you need to sell houses and help buyers find their next home. Here’s how some of the best marketing tools can help.
Your Real Estate Website
Having a good website – or at least a clear, friendly website – is foundational to your real estate marketing strategy. It’s how people find you, and what you are all about. If you are part of a larger real estate brokerage, the agency will probably have a website and you will have a page or profile on it. If you are on your own, you will need to set up your own website or hire someone to do it for you.
“In the Digital Age 2017 Report, 95% of people visit company websites while looking for a realtor.” National Association of Realtors
There are a ton of DIY website builders out there: Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, etc. You want to design your website and it’s navigation according to three important things, in this order:
- What are your potential customers looking for? (hint: to buy or sell a house)
- Can site visitors find what they are looking for on your website in less than 3 seconds?
- Can they act on what they find, i.e. contact you?
After building your site to address those questions, the next task will be making sure potential buyers can find your site. That means doing SEO (search engine optimization) on your site to make sure the keywords you want to be known for. If you hire an outside agency to do your website, SEO should be included in the package. If you want to do it yourself, there are plenty of tools out there.
Video was a “nice to have” feature back in the day, but it has become the main way to get your audience’s attention and engagement. The numbers continue to indicate that video is the most effective way to communicate on digital platforms.
Despite all the so-called easy to use video programs out there, video can be time consuming. You can do it yourself, but you need to ask yourself two questions:
- Do I want to spend the time and energy creating video content?
- Can I be satisfied with the quality of my video if it’s not perfect?
If the answer to either of those questions is no , you may need to look into having them professionally produced, which means cost.
Is there a middle ground where you don’t have to learn how to do video (shooting, editing, producing) but also don’t have to pay a production company a lot of money?
There are a few tools that might help you find that middle ground.
These tools are FREE, or offer a free trial so you try them out.
Social Media as Real Estate Marketing Tools
A website is a destination for potential prospects, but social media platforms are a way to drive prospects to your website. Social media posts have immediacy, so if you sell a house and post it on social media, your followers know about it right away.
You can also keep your business front-of-mind with frequent updates. The ease of sharing what you are doing makes it like no other medium. We could go on, but we don’t need to sell you on how social media belongs within your most-used real estate marketing tools.
With many options available, the trick is choosing which social media platforms are most used or relevant to your target prospect, then consistently manage publishing posts and engaging with your followers.
The platforms that have the most users are:
Take some time to consider where your audience is. For example, the majority of TikTok users (71%) are between the ages of 18 and 34, so if you are selling primarily to young people and first time homebuyers, that may be a strong platform for you.
In terms of managing all of your social media accounts on a single platform, Sprout Social tops a lot of lists. For analytics, Hootsuite rates highly. That said, many prefer to use the native platform for posting, and instead focus their effort only on 1-2 social media platforms and doing those select accounts really well.
Focusing one or two platforms, where you know your target audience is often active, and posting to them consistently while engaging with your audience is the way to go. That is our recommended suggestion on how to manage the social media portion of your real estate marketing tools. When it becomes a breeze to manage that work, simply add one more social media channel at a time as your business (and staff) grows.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Customer Relationship Management tools seem like they are more of a back office application – a way to manage your communications with clients – but they can also give you insight into how your marketing is working.
If, for example, you send out an email to clients about curb appeal and your open rates and click through rates double, you know you did something right. You can learn a lot about your customers that way.
If you are part of a real estate agency that has more than a few team members, your organization may already be using one of these programs. If so, you are in luck – they have a lot of features and a lot of functionality. They are not, however, specific to the real estate industry.
Specific real estate CRM platforms include:
The good news is that with the right CRM system, you can actually improve your marketing efforts. It’s also a great way to organize your work, prioritize your email marketing campaigns and automate your communication.
The virtual tour was popular before the pandemic housing boom, but it gained a lot of momentum during the time when customers were avidly searching for homes but didn’t (or couldn’t) visit a property.
Now, virtual tours are standard. On the plus side, they are even easier to build than they have ever been.
There are a lot of tools out there, but we are going to focus on those that are specific to the real estate world.
These are some of the best virtual real estate marketing tool:
- Kuula – This one is at the top of most lists of real estate virtual tour software. It’s easy, inexpensive and designed for real estate.
- My360 – This package is also specifically for real estate and has great customer service.
- Matterport – If you want a more 3D experience in your virtual tours, this application is for you.
- TourBuilder (formerly Panoskin) – This software integrates videos, photos, links, text, and maps, which can the virtual tour Google Street View.
- immoviewer – For 3D, 360 virtual tours that also incorporate video, this application was built specifically for real estate professionals.
The sophistication of virtual tours has increased over the years.
So what about staging a house without doing all the heavy lifting and redecorating? There are a bunch of virtual staging software applications out there that are also worth looking into.
Emails as Real Estate Marketing Tools
Email as a real estate marketing tool seems like it’s been around forever, but it’s still incredibly effective.
If you use one of the aforementioned CRM systems, they will manage and send automated emails as part of their services. If you want to work with a separate email service, MailChimp is one of the largest and most popular. You can, of course, also simply use your business email system.
From the business side, email rates very highly, but what about from the point of view of recipients (your target audience)? Do they like receiving messages from you via email?
One of the best ways to measure that is by looking at engagement. Open rates and click through rates are easy to measure and will give you a sense of how your audience is receiving your message and the content they find the most useful (click worthy).
These are the following features that affect the engagement of your email marketing:
- Frequency (don’t send too often)
- Subject line (punchy, short, no spammy clickbait)
- Quality content (well written, clear, concise)
- Call to action (make it painfully clear what they should do as a result of the email)
One of the most effective ways to improve your email channel’s performance is to personalize it by the recipient’s name, and provide the recipient something they would find valuable based on where they are in their life (or in the real estate home buying or selling experience/journey).
Webinars as Real Estate Marketing Tools
There are two ways to execute webinars for potential clients. The first is to host a live webinar so you can answer direct questions from those attending. The second option is to pre-record your webinar and offer it on your website as gated content to any prospect willing to give you some personal information, like their name and email address.
Agent Benefits from Doing Webinars
Hosting webinars positions you as an industry authority, showcasing your expertise and knowledge on the subject matter you choose to cover.
This not only enhances your visibility, especially if promoted through channels like the aforementioned social media and email, but it also serves as a tool for lead generation. As attendees typically register to participate, you will gain direct access to potential leads contact information.
Live webinars offer the advantage of real-time interaction, fostering deeper engagement with potential clients. It allows you to build more trust when you can answer their specific questions in real time.
This real-time feedback also provides prospect and/or market insight to customer concerns.
And, we cannot overlook the cost-effective nature of webinars, compared to hosting physical events. There’s no comparison; webinars win hands down.
What About the Value for Prospects?
Webinars offer prospects the opportunity to receive valuable insight from a market expert. Your webinars can cover the local market trends, neighborhoods, and other crucial aspects; helping to ensure prospects make informed decisions.
The convenience of attending a webinar from anywhere adds to its appeal, eliminating the need for travel.
If it’s a live webinar, interactive Q&A sessions during the webinar offer an opportunity for attendees to get personalized responses to their specific situation. And, they can also learn from other fellow prospects who may ask a question that they didn’t think of, but want to know.
Plus, a great way for you to make a lasting impression on these prospects is to offer them something for free as an exclusive takeaway item. Make it informative, or a special tool, or a useful checklist. Something tangible that offers a solution to a potential need they may have on their real estate journey, that will remind them of you.
8 Webinar Topics to Help Generate Leads
Here are some webinar topics that real estate prospects (both buyers and sellers) might find particularly valuable:
- Understanding the Home Buying Process – A step-by-step walkthrough, especially tailored for first-time homebuyers, covering everything from pre-approval to closing.
- Home Selling Strategies – Tips and tricks for preparing a home for sale, pricing it right, and the types of marketing techniques you typically use to attract potential buyers.
- Local Market Trends – Deep dive into recent market data, price trends, hot neighborhoods, and predictions for the near future to help those prospects who might be on the fence to make a decision.
- Financing and Mortgage Insights – Covering different types of mortgages, the pre-approval process, credit score and credit history implications, plus refinancing.
- Relocation Guide – Tailored for individuals and families moving to a new area, covering schools, amenities, transportation, and community vibes.
- Home Staging and Presentation – Demonstrating how effectively staged homes can get better prices and feature techniques you use to stretch a sellers budget to deliver an outstanding result.
- Downsizing/Upsizing Your Home – Strategies for individuals or families looking to move to a smaller or larger property.
- Navigating a Competitive Market – Strategies for buyers in a seller’s market – how to make competitive offers, handling multiple offer scenarios. Plus cover strategies for sellers in a buyers market, or maybe make another webinar for that specific market when it happens, because it will.
These topics, when presented with actionable tips, local expertise and a valuable takeaway; can be compelling enough for prospects to give you their contact information at a minimum. Or, when the time comes to enter the market, your their first phone call.
Traditional Real Estate Marketing Tools
Ok, the focus so far has all been on digital real estate marketing tools for real estate. Let’s get physical. Postcards, lawn signs, phone calls, fridge magnets and direct mail all still work. They get your message out and, for some customers, they are exactly the right approach.
Unfortunately, trial and error is the best approach for these tried and true real estate marketing tools. But, we recommend making these traditional marketing tactics a smaller percent of your overall marketing budget and time allocation.
With these marketing tools the challenge has always been – what to use and what’s the right mix? We would love to give you the definitive formula, but we do not know your expertise, local market trends, or the specific needs of your target audience and/or niche. That’s where your local expertise comes into play to determine which of these traditional tools make the most sense for you and your prospects.
Do Not have a Niche? Join Homes for Heroes
Homes for Heroes can help you specialize in your market and grow your real estate business by helping your local heroes buy, sell or refinance a home. And, offer them something special, something beyond the transaction, by saving them significant money as a way to thank them for their service.
Simply submit your registration and schedule a time to learn more about the benefits of being a Homes for Heroes local market specialist, and become the agent or lender your community heroes want to work with for their home and mortgage needs.