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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