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Ridiculously simple way to revitalize your real estate marketing

A simple, overlooked question

What is my easiest tip to help with your marketing? Ask every single client, every prospect, “where did you hear about me?” This is so simple it’s scary, yet so often overlooked.

Realtors, like most people, are creatures of habit. We spend money just like the others in our office spend money: on monthly real estate journals, on open house ads, buying pens with our names on it. Yet how good are we at tracking what works and what doesn’t work?

I ask every single person who calls the office, or who makes an appointment and ends up across the table from me, “Where did you hear about me?” Then, I track every answer. It’s not that hard. Start today, asking callers that question and you might be surprised what you hear.

Tracking leads

Categorize the answers: referral from a friend, repeat client, friend/relative/sphere, real estate website (Trulia? Zillow?, the print journal, open houses, etc.

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Rather than keep on doing the same old/same old, mix up your marketing depending on what your survey finds. Whatever WORKS, do more of. What is not working, reduce or drop that advertising or marketing avenue. Spend more money and more time in the channels that produce results.

For example, if you cannot trace a single lead in the past year to the print journal, can you cut that ad size or eliminate it? Try it for a month or two and see what happens. Does anyone notice?

If you picked up 3 buyers over the past 6 months working open houses, maybe you need to work them more. If you got 7 solid buyer leads from Trulia that closed last year and 2 from Zillow, perhaps you need to spend more time and money on Trulia and less on Zillow. Or you need to tweak that Zillow account to see what you’re missing there.

Tracking can seem like a pain, but unless you ask the question and chart it you’ll never know how good or bad each marketing avenue is for you in particular. And just because one works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. So ask the question.

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Written By

Erica Ramus is the Broker/Owner of Ramus Realty Group in Pottsville, PA. She also teaches real estate licensing courses at Penn State Schuylkill and is extremely active in her community, especially the Rotary Club of Pottsville and the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce. Her background is writing, marketing and publishing, and she is the founder of Schuylkill Living Magazine, the area's regional publication. She lives near Pottsville with her husband and two teenage sons, and an occasional exchange student passing thru who needs a place to stay.



  1. Matthew Hardy

    October 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    > Tracking can seem like a pain

    … but it's a valuable practice.

  2. Jeff

    October 26, 2011 at 7:30 am

    It sounds simple… but make sure you truly get to the deepest point. I did this once (asking how they found me) and found out most of my leads were coming from "the internet". As it turns out, I was wrong. After dropping my print advertising, I found out that they got to my website AFTER seeing it printed in the local homes magazine. They must have forgotten that is where they started before they got to the site. Lesson learned.

  3. Phil

    October 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Tracking is the name of the game. Take a look at and see how it uses the most advanced technology and old school marketing to create a system that gets attention and interest and then tracks that information. Very effective and efficient

  4. Cynthia

    October 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    A lot of agents (small business marketers too) sometimes overlook simple ways to gain market intelligence. As you're suggesting, they just need to ask a simple question to get a sense of what type of marketing is working to generate leads for them. Jeff (in the comments) brought up a great point though – you can't rely just on what your prospects and leads are telling you. Word-of-mouth is not always accurate, and in some cases, can be misleading.

    I would suggest that agents invest in marketing that is targeted and trackable. There are so many tools, technologies, and programs out there today that will serve up reliable performance metrics: URL shorteners w/ tracking capabilities, unique QR codes, and TriggerMarketing are just a few.

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