An often-overlooked marketing opportunity for Realtors is the power of hosting local community events.
Hosting community fundraisers or events is a great way to rub elbows with your neighbors and get your name known.
This demonstrates a philanthropic inclination on your part and will make your clients feel a sense of attachment to your charitable contributions by signing with you.
You can inform surrounding community members of the event by going door to door, which is a time-tested lead generating technique. However, since you’re going door to door to promote a charitable event, it will come off as less intrusive.
Hosting an event is one of the best ways Realtors can establish themselves as the local go-to real estate market guru in their community.
However, event hosting tends to fall off the map of viable marketing techniques for Realtors for one reason: it’s hard.
The amount of energy and resources spent successfully organizing, marketing, and executing a community event can appear to be a daunting obstacle.
Despite the work involved, the windfall of new business resulting from this more than offsets the woes experienced during.
This topic has enough moving pieces and creates so much opportunity for expressing your personal brand as unique, it could be an eBook in and of itself. Making the details specific to your brand and community is largely left to your discretion, but here we will outline the basic stages of pulling such an event off.
DETERMINING EVENT LOGISTICS
When deciding what activities, speakers, performers, and hooks you will use for creating an event with a favorable turnout, keep in mind the ultimate goal of the event: generating, nurturing, and converting leads.
Nurturing and converting patrons of your event will rely heavily on how you display your brand at the time of the event. Generating these leads will be done largely through marketing leading up to the event. That being said, a crucial component to generating leads at the event depends on your ability to incite guests to provide their contact information.
Before we go any further, understand that setting up the event will require a decent amount of leg work on your part, so learn from the mistakes of Fyre festival founders, and give yourself enough time to arrange all necessary amenities. Schedule your event at least ten weeks out from when you begin marketing.
Type of Event
Consider what type of event you want to host for your community. Your idea should include activities that require guests to provide contact information before-hand to secure entry like contests, raffles, talent shows, trivia competitions, or auctions.
Choose a charity to sponsor and advertise that proceeds will be donated. By adding a philanthropic aspect people in your community will feel more inclined to attend and participate.
Both the type of event you choose and the charity you support will depend largely on your audience. Consider the demographics and interests of your surrounding community to help you decide what these themes should be.
Fundraising for a local cause or organization is a good way to kill both these birds with one stone. For example, you could do a fundraiser for the local football team and hold football related competitions like NFL trivia or combine events. What you choose should not only reflect community interests, but your personal interests as well to ensure passion and knowledgeable delivery.
The decisions you make here will likewise guide your decision for time and location of your event. Since you’ll be marketing to a large number of people in your surrounding community, make sure to secure a location that is flexible with regard to maximum capacity. The last thing you want is to have more attendees than your location can handle.
It will be difficult to pull off a venture like this on your own, so secure help early in the process. The help you employ should be both active in the community and ideally, local idols that embody your selected charity and activities.
If it’s a fundraiser for a local school, ask teachers or prominent PTA members. If it’s a sports team, ask coaches or team administrators. If you are promoting and raising money for a local organization, the chances are good that anyone involved with the organization will be eager to help.
These will be essential contacts for helping with set up, spreading the word, and offering insights to best execute your event.
The co-hosts and sponsors you select for the previous step will additionally make good speakers at your event, particularly if they’re already well known within the community as the local arbiter of your event theme.
If you want to utilize performances, try to employ performers that likewise are representative of your theme in the minds of the local community. To paraphrase Mark Zuckerberg as to why FaceBook became popular, “people don’t go online to look at people. They go online to look at people they know.” Performers that are personally known by attendees will be a cheap and effective way to engage your audience.
Reach out to those you know personally in the community who are capable of participating in whatever activities you have planned. Tell them to share their participation on social media to attract other potential contestants.
MARKET YOUR EVENT
Now that the event location, time, and logistics are in place, you’ll want to market the event for a few weeks leading up to it to achieve maximum reach and attendance.
Brand Your Event
Before distributing any marketing materials, it’s a good idea to brand your event with custom logo and slogan.
Your logo and slogan should tie together the symbiotic relationship between the organization the event is helping, activities involved in the event, and your personal real estate business.
Independently contracted graphic designers are cheap on Fiverr, and with guidance, can help generate a totally custom logo for your event.
This logo can be printed on T shirts, flyers, and any merchandise you may be giving away at the event, increasing awareness for the next time you host it.
Your slogan should be something catchy and easy to remember. Have it in some way convey the contribution of your personal real estate business to the event as well. Additionally, you should also connect the slogan geographically or by a local indicator if you can for SEO improvement. For example, if you’re raising funds for the local school soccer team by hosting a musical talent show, try something like, “Support Leighton Soccer by Judging Rockers! – an event powered by Jane Doe Realty.” This is a good opportunity to express your creativity and make the event unique to your personality.
By branding your event successfully the first time around, if/when you decide to host the event again another year, you’ll have the advantage of having an already established recognizable brand within your community.
Traditional Marketing Tactics
Marketing your event is a good excuse for going door to door and introducing yourself as the local Realtor. Make flyers or brochures to hand out to neighbors when you do this.
If you really want to go all in on this, invest in display ads at local grocery stores or park benches. Traditional real estate marketing will work better if you’re advertising an event than the typical Realtor photo and phone number technique.
Local media spots also provide good reach at relatively low costs within your community. Get a local DJ to advertise your event on air or buy newspaper ads in your neighborhood paper.
Keep in mind the audience likely to see your ads based on where and what platform they’re being deployed. Adjust your advertisements accordingly to speak more directly to your audience.
If you’ve been employing any of the lead generation techniques we’ve discussed in prior posts, you probably have the contact information of a set of warm leads in your local community. Use your event as an opportunity to engage another touch point and connect with them. If you advertise the speakers, performers, or other people they know in the header of your email you’ll increase the chances they view it and attend.
Hiring social influencers to promote your business or event can be costly and won’t necessarily reach the ideal target audience. However, if you can hire people within your target community with large local followings on social media, you can better target your audience for a cheaper price. They may not necessarily have done any social media influence work in the past, and will probably be excited by the opportunity. These people can be the heads of local clubs or organizations, including people involved in local civic groups, schools, churches, business owners and nonprofit (nongovernmental) organizations.
If one of your co-hosts or sponsors fits the bill for a local social influencer, be sure to ask them to promote the event on their social media channels as well.
Blog + Podcast
Earlier we discussed setting up and gaining a following for your personal website’s blog and podcast. Event marketing provides relevant content to your audience and promotes your event. It is a perfect content piece to blast out from all your marketing channels.
Keep in mind the keys to improving your SEO score when constructing your articles promoting your event. Use local words, include the names of all co-hosts and sponsors, performers, speakers, organizations, and clubs involved and tie their names to your local community as often as you can to see to it that any Google queries remotely related to your event returns your article at the top of the list.
Sharing the content created for your blog and podcast on your social media channels is just the first way to promote your event over social media.
It’s also imperative that you create an “Event” on FaceBook and invite your contacts to join. Be sure to include organizations and people being helped, organizations and people helping to administer the event, activities to be held, prizes to be won, handouts, performers, and any other relevant information to the event. Allowing people to see everyone else who has been invited and who has responded to the invite will not only help establish credibility for your event in the local community, but instill a sense of ‘FOMO’ for those on the fence about going.
Be sure to use this medium as a way of accepting applications to perform or speak as well, (after they’ve provided their contact information of course!)
After posting articles and other advertising content on social media, boost your ads and set your target audience to make sure your ads are seen by local residents repeatedly.
Include a “tag” to be used in every social media post so other people can easily post about the event and refer back to it. You may want to use multiple tags so you can direct some tags at the event activities, performers, etc., and at least one that’s directed at your real estate business.
Partner with Local Businesses
Allowing local businesses to participate in the event will not only help provide more merchandising and event activities, but open the door for cross promotion.
In exchange for allowing participation, see if local businesses will help promote your real estate business in their facilities. This will bulk up your event for free while simultaneously promoting your personal brand.
Incentives and Free Giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff! Be sure to include some sort of giveaway for a raffle, or prizes for competitions, and advertise exactly what merchandise attendees will be getting in your social media posts, flyers, articles, etc.
The merchandise and prizes to be given away can include your personally branded logo and slogan. This will serve as a reminder to patrons of the event that you are the local real estate guru for as long as they keep their prize or gift.
Your event should be free entry, and this fact should be advertised as well. Remember, you’re in the business of generating leads for your personal real estate venture. You’re an event planner only as a means to accomplishing this, not generating revenue.
Leverage Other Events and Public Forums
Anytime there is a gathering of local residents, this is an opportunity to promote your event.
Ask your local church if they’ll allow an announcement. This can also be done at PTA meetings, sporting events, etc.
ENGAGE GUESTS AT YOUR EVENT
There are two focal points for when your event is taking place to be used for the purpose of generating and nurturing leads: Getting guest contact information and capturing new content.
Capturing content at the event will allow you to market yourself further long after the event has ended. This is content that can be reused in your social media marketing, blog, podcast, etc. It will also provide marketing materials for when you decide to host an event again. There are several ways to create this content:
Encourage Attendees to Share Their Own Content
One way to maximize your reach at your event is to create circumstances in which attendees will capture their own content and share it on their social media channels. Offer post-event prizes to whomever captures and shares the best photo of an activity or event with the predetermined hashtag attached.
In a previous article about how Realtors should advertise on digital platforms, we talked about utilizing Snapchat Geofilters for community events. Implementing Geofilters through Snapchat’s advertising platform and informing guests of this feature, they’ll send out snaps to their friends using your branded advertisement.
Hire a Professional Photographer
You’ll want to additionally employ a professional to capture fun moments from your event. These will be better quality and better for sharing than any content generated by attendees.
If you really want quality video to share, get a drone to capture aerial images and footage of your event. This will help convey the appearance of professionalism and legitimacy of any event you decide to host in the future.
Collect Contact Information
You’ve already collected contact information from your marketing efforts for the event, but the event itself presents an opportunity to gather even more.
Don’t charge fees, but rather require contact information be provided for entry into any event performances, giveaways, donations, or general queries. These can be added to your CRM later, one of the ultimate goals of hosting the event to begin with.
Use the contact information you’ve gathered to probe for suggestions, reviews, and feedback for your event. In addition to growing your customer database, you can use replies to refine any future events to provide an even more beneficial experience for you and attendees at your next year’s event.
These contacts can also be used as a foundation for employing hosts and sponsors for your next event. Ask if anyone has or knows of any other reputable organizations within the community that could benefit from an event like the one you just hosted.
The extra data you’ve acquired from attendees can also be used for more relevant retargeting of event guests that visited your personal website either before, during, or after the event. More specific ad retargeting is a great way to funnel warm leads into conversions.
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Recent US housing market data has shown that rising mortgage rates and housing prices have largely prevented renters from entering the market, causing home ownership rates to stagnate.
According to a recent CNBC article, Wages haven’t come close to keeping pace with housing costs: between 2001 and 2011, median rental housing costs rose 5 percent, while median renter incomes actually dropped 15 percent. While the number of cost-burdened renters nationwide receded from a high mark of 21.3 million in 2014 to 20.8 million in 2016, it’s still higher than it’s been for years.
In addition to a broadening gap between wages and home valuations, the debt incurred by younger generations has likewise prevented would-be first-time buyers from saving enough money for a down payment, contributing to a rising rental market.
Costs of home repair and upkeep have frightened these renters further that if they did enter the homeowner’s market, their accounts would quickly be depleted, causing them to recede further into the safety of their landlord’s fiduciary responsibilities.
Despite these indicators that there is little hope for a change of tide in the near future, homeownership remains a far better long-term wealth builder than renting in most cities across the U.S.
Being able to convey this concept to first-time home buyers is a necessary skill for realtors to possess if they hope to gain new lasting clientele relationships.
To express the advantage of building equity in a home, it’s imperative that a realtor attempting to convert a renter into a lead hit on the following talking points:
1. Equity built in a home more than offsets the cost of a down payment, upkeep, and repairs over time.
With each monthly payment the homeowner is paying off the principal and gaining equity in the home.
The true cost of monthly mortgage payments is the interest paid that month. While these payments can become costly depending on the rates when the buyer purchased the home, they are almost always significantly lower than local rent rates.
Upkeep and repair can hit a homeowner’s personal bank account hard, but remind them that these repairs or renovations contribute to the value of the home, meaning the equity gained yields a greater financial return than mortgage payments made before the repairs.
On average, home values increase by 5.4% per year. So just by buying the home, the owner gains 5.4% of the price of the home when they bought it every year in terms of acquired wealth.
2. Rental markets rise in an inversely proportional manner to housing demand.
This means a lasting rising rental market, like the one currently underway, will eventually result in a cooling off of the housing market, so homes will soon become more affordable, making this a good time to begin looking to get a head start on the impending buyer influx.
3.There has been a steady rise of roommates and shared housing in recent years.
Renting out rooms in your new home can soften mortgage payments and allow new home owners to build equity while simultaneously spending less than they would be renting.
Several apps are available for free download that facilitate this process and allow homeowners to vet prospects beforehand.
4. Some avoidance to entering the housing market could be a product of ignorance of mortgage loans.
Make sure they understand what mortgage insurance is, and if they qualify for any benefits that could lessen their monthly payments.
If this is right for them based on their financial standing, this could help convince potential buyers saving enough money for a full 20% down payment isn’t necessary before entering the housing market.
Explain to them the differences between VA loans, FHA loans, and USDA loans, then walk them through the process of determining if they qualify.
In this rising rental market, realtors increasingly are hearing from cold leads, “I can’t afford to buy a home right now.” While this is true for many of those leads, some are just uninformed of the benefits of homeownership, what it means to build equity in a home, how appreciation raises their net worth, or how mortgage loans function. Realtors can and should arm themselves with the above information to help these potential homeowners decide if they really can afford a home right now, and if that is the better option for them.
Whether you are holding your own open house or hosting for another realtor, you want to present yourself in a memorable way to homebuyers resulting in new clients and referrals.
We’ve put together a list of simple and affordable ways you can make a lasting impression to open house attendees. Follow these ten easy practices for the most successful open house ever:
1. KNOW THE DISCLOSURES
The most important tip and best way to maintain a professional appearance is to be knowledgeable about your listings.
Nothing is more off putting to a potential buyer than a realtor holding an open house who can’t answer questions about it.
If you put the work in to know the disclosures backwards and forwards, you’ll set a precedent in buyers’ minds that you will work equally as hard for them.
2. BE ON TIME AND STAY LATE
Many buyers dedicate their Sunday afternoons to looking at open homes, meaning they plan to get to the first one right when the majority of open houses in the area are scheduled to begin.
If they decide to come to yours first and you are not there, then you could lose a client, a sale, and the chance at establishing yourself as a reputable realtor.
Likewise, you could miss out on last minute stragglers if you’re too eager to leave early. Stay an extra 5-10 minutes just in case.
Studies have shown that houses sell faster when open homes are staged rather than owner occupied.
Additionally, keep in mind the likely buyer demographics of the home you’re selling.
Staging in a way that mirrors their lifestyle will help them better envision themselves living there, and increase the probability of purchase.
As a final option, offer to pay for a portion of the staging. This will increase repeat business from the seller, and give you an extra perk you can brag about in your personal brand advertisements.
You’ve probably heard that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and big corporations have put a lot of money into scent marketing to exploit that fact. Studies have shown scents that tend to be more closely linked with happy and/or relaxing memories result in more spending among browsers.
Common smells utilized are baked goods, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. If you lack the culinary skills, you may want to just stick to coffee or invest in an artificial aroma generator, (don’t worry, non-commercial aroma generators are cheap!)
5. UNIQUE IN-HOUSE MARKETING
Invest some time into researching companies that can help you market yourself and your open home in memorable ways.
For example, you could place a retractable pull up banner displaying a personal branding ad, (so it can be reused), or a video drone tour of the property playing on a loop in the living room.
This is an opportunity for you to get creative, and the marketing you employ should reflect you and the home you’re selling.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like our recommendations to accurately reflect your unique brand.
6. PITCH WALKTHROUGHS
In addition to staging, another good way to imprint a sense of ownership among walkthroughs is to pitch them with details and possibilities specific to their lifestyle or hobbies.
If they have a baby, talk about where cribs would look good in the home. If they are sporty, talk about nearby fitness clubs, storage possibilities, or any positive contributions to their lifestyle the home could make.
It’s as easy as striking up a genuine conversation with buyers and learning about who they are, then conflating features of the home with their responses.
7. DRESS CODE
This is another issue that should be left to the discretion of the agent depending on the expected demographic of people viewing the home.
You want to portray a sense of professionalism and cleanliness regardless, but a suit and tie might not necessarily be ideal.
If it’s a younger demographic in a newly gentrified region, realtors might be better off dressing down a bit to instill comradery amongst home browsers.
Knowing the clientele and what they’re likely to respond well to is more important than dressing to the nines in all business settings.
Use your best judgement and try to depict yourself as both someone your target demographic is likely to connect with and deliver a prompt, professional experience.
8. DIGITAL ADVERTISING
Most realtors already take advantage of advertising opportunities offered on social media and consumer facing listing platforms, but there is a lot more to be done in this scope to increase both reach and strength of personal brand in terms of both the type of digital advertisement and how to present them.
Look into alternative digital advertisement sources that remain largely untapped within the industry, such as advertising on mobile gaming platforms or utilizing virtual tour platforms.
Also pay attention to the quality of ad.
Professional photographers might seem costly considering photos can be easily taken and uploaded from your phone, but they’re unlikely to attract new clients when compared with the quality a professional brings.
As is the case with scents, sounds that induce happy and relaxing memories in buyers are strongly correlated with greater purchase volume.
You can create a soft playlist to quilt the interior of your open home to help buyers achieve this relaxing mentality, or you can simply rely on the scientifically backed playlist featuring, “the most relaxing songs in the world.”
Whichever route you choose, keep in mind this technique is meant to be supplementary to every other tactic you employ, not the star of the show, so don’t turn the volume up too loud.
10. REMOVE CLUTTER
Lastly, to quote John Wesley, “cleanliness is close to godliness.”
Take the time to hire cleaners to remove infringing stains and odors, make sure the yard is well kempt and free of clutter, and remove any semblance of a previous owner occupancy.
If you provide home buyers with a blank template, they can fill it with visions of their own life, and allow them to imagine living there more easily.
For any specific questions or concerns you have about an open house you’re holding in the near future, please email us and we will get back to you promptly with solutions unique to your situation.
Incorporate these techniques into your open house holding actions. Action becomes habit becomes character.
And in the case of realtors, character becomes new clients and repeat business.
California Licensed Realtor
DRE # 02044169
- Residential real estate within walking distance of destination coffee shop clusters had a price per square foot 21% higher on average than the residential real estate between .5 and 2.5 miles from them.
- This study demonstrates value as it relates to walkability, something that matters to Millennials. Understanding and reaching Millennials is an ongoing challenge for realtors.
First light sweeps through the bay, softly illuminating the fog and ushering in the morning calm. As the city awakens, the quiet stillness in the cold San Francisco air is interrupted only by low grumbles of “Don’t even talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.”
In San Francisco, where you’ll see a couple of coffee shops just looking each way before crossing the street, many walk to their favorite roastery to get their morning fix. While the traditional coffee shop serves as little more than a pit stop between waking up in the dreary doldrums of morning and the techno rat race that consumes the remainder of the day, a number of boutique San Francisco coffee roasters have effectively established themselves as destinations.
Several of these new expressions of San Francisco culture have found their way into other cities and even countries. Blue Bottle has 6 stores in Manhattan and 2 in Japan, Philz is expanding to Washington DC, and several other coffee artisans also have plans to grow beyond The City. They are not just exporting coffee, they are exporting a unique life style, and this life style has a direct effect on the surrounding residential real estate.
What kind of effect could a coffee shop have on a home? A matched panel study compared residential real estate within walking distance of five locations densely populated by local coffee shops in San Francisco, and residential real estate between .5 and 2.5 miles of the same locations. The study demonstrated that the residential real estate within walking distance of these “destination” coffee shop clusters had a price per square foot 21% higher on average than the residential real estate between .5 and 2.5 miles from them. How do you like them beans?
This increase represents an average of $159 more per square foot for housing within .5 miles of these coffee shop clusters versus housing .5 to 2.5 miles away.
The following graph illustrates the decrease in price per square foot as residential real estate moves away from their respective coffee shop cluster:
The graph represents a $25.99 decrease per sq ft for condos for each .1 mile away from their nearest coffee shop cluster and a $14.35 decrease per sq ft for houses for each .1 mile away from the nearest coffee shop cluster. Click here to view the full study.
“This study demonstrates value as it relates to walkability, something that matters to Millennials. Understanding and reaching Millennials is an ongoing challenge for realtors.”
-Tommy Wolf, Director of Data Science for the Mason-McDuffie Real Estate Company
Knowledge is power. Now real estate agents have one more arrow in their information quiver.
About Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate
Mason-McDuffie was founded in San Francisco in 1887, and is one of the oldest and best known real estate brokerages in the United States.
With a respect for tradition and a commitment to innovation, Mason McDuffie Real Estate continues to lead and grow. Using his high tech / big data background, new CEO Rob Wolf has introduced game-changing industry initiatives. Starting with hiring a Chief Data Scientist, the company has launched a number of new high tech projects which will be rolled out over the coming months.
BHG Mason-McDuffie Real Estate conducts business in a variety of market segments, including residential, luxury homes, new homes, commercial and rental properties. Generating over $3.3 billion in annual sales volume, the company was named 2015 National Real Estate Agency of the Year (Harris Nielsen poll) and is the country’s largest Better Homes and Gardens real estate brokerage.
Armed with 900+ top-notch real estate agents and 30 offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, BHG Mason-McDuffie Real Estate is committed to providing exceptional service to its customers. For additional information, please contact Melissa Elaina at email@example.com.
This article was originally written by Tommy Wolf, Real Estate Back Ops Director of Marketing and posted here. Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie.
California Licensed Realtor
DRE # 02044169