Connect with us

Business Marketing

Dominate Your Geographic Niche- Under $83/mo

Published

on


In addition to being an active real estate agent and an industry technology trainer and coach, I also teach new agents how to jump into the wonderful world of real estate. I teach them how to look for business, how to be confident and competent, and ultimately how to be successful. One of the things I talk about is niche marketing – which in most cases is the same as a geographic farm. (No, not a 100 acre plot of land with sheep, chickens, a large red structure and tractors…).

I know this really has nothing to do with cool web 2.0 gadgets and phraseology, but I still find it a useful part of my business plan and I want to share it. So there. Most of the web 2.0 world revolves around marketing, which I happen to love. However, there IS a facet to our business that cannot ever go away … prospecting. Prospecting is going and getting business – not waiting for it to come to you (marketing). Prospecting is an essential part of real estate, and it does not have to be in the form of “in-your-face-salesey-blech” either. Prospecting is a very important way to get business when you don’t want to/can’t spend a lot of money.

So, blah blah blah … Let’s continue.

Here are the Top 5 Cheap Ways to Dominate Your Geographic Niche (aka FARM)

Create a Neighborhood Blog

~ Cost: $ZERO

Okfine.

This is a little web 2.0 … Once you have defined your niche – found the neighborhood that you want to dominate – create a blog for it. Set up a free WordPress.com blog. I have a free WordPress.com blog for my niche: Greenhaven Real Estate (with a sub category: LivingInGreenhaven.com that links directly to the community specific posts).



  • Name it appropriately.
  • Have your contact information readily available on every page and post.
  • Have a “Search for Homes (or land) in [neighborhood]” link on most posts.
  • Have a “Search for Homes (or Land) in [neighborhood]” link on the main page and sidebar.
  • Post a market report every month.
  • Post pictures of the neighborhood.
  • Post about neighborhood events and activities. (New school, neighborhood BBQ’s, local businesses…).
  • Post about HOA meetings and guidelines.

Posting only about 2x a month to this blog is just fine.

Create a Simple 1-Page Quarterly Newsletter

~ Cost: $652. a Year (or $54./month)

The newsletter that I create has a couple blog posts printed on one side, the recent market report on the other. Simple cut and paste techniques. There are 250 homes in my niche and I only print and send/deliver the newsletter quarterly. Other things to include:

  • Your contact information on header, footer and side column.
  • Call yourself the [neighborhood] expert.
  • Promote the [neighborhood] blog that you created.

Tip: Mail them out 2x a year and hand deliver them 2x a year. Not only will this save you a few bucks in postage, but it will put you face-to-face with the folks in that area.
Cost Breakdown:

  • 300 homes x 300 stamps x 2 times a year = $252.00
  • 300 color 1-pg. double sided newsletters = $500.00 (source)

Go Door-to-Door At Least 2x A Year

~ Cost: $Zero

I take the time to go door-to-door at least 2x a year. Sometimes it takes a couple days to fully canvas the ‘hood, but I can usually knock it out inside a week. I use this opportunity to hand deliver the most recent newsletter. Sometimes people are hesitant to speak with me (or even open the door further than a crack…). However, they warm up to me right away when I say, “Hi. I’m Mariana. I am just delivering your neighborhood newsletter. There is some information on the recent sales in [neighborhood] as well as [whatever other information you put in the newsletter]. How are you doing?” Start a conversation. *If you live in that area, tell them that you are their neighbor.

Create Niche Business Cards and Calendar Magnets

~ Cost: $143.00 a Year (or $12/month)

I created and ordered 300 of these at VistaPrint.com for just $15

Create a custom business card for your niche. Include:

  • A picture of the ‘hood, if possible. Make it pretty.
  • Your contact information
  • The URL to the neighborhood blog
  • Call to action … a reason to visit the blog, or to call you

Take these cards and attach them to calendar magnets. Hand-deliver these to your niche – along with the newsletter. The calendar magnets are an excellent way to keep you in front of them … especially if there is a pretty picture of their neighborhood on the card.

Cost Breakdown:

  • 300 calendar magnets: $123.00 (source)
  • 300 business cards: $20.00 (source)

Put Together a Neighborhood Garage Sale and Open House Tour

~ Cost: Maybe $200./year ($17./month)

This is a great way to get to know the people in the neighborhood. Start early and don’t plan a date that will conflict with major holidays.

  • Advertise that you are looking for volunteers in a newsletter – or on a sign posted in the area.
  • Meet with the volunteers and assign them tasks to help you put it together.
  • Coordinate with the agents who have listings in your area. Each agent should kick in a predetermined amount of money that will pay for any advertising costs.
  • Advertise the event in the blog, in the next newsletter, on Craigslist and in the local newspaper.
  • Create maps that will be distributed at the entrance of the neighborhood. Direct people to the “featured” garage sales and open houses.
  • Make sure “[neighborhood] Annual Garage Sale and Open House Tour is sponsored by [you and your contact info.]” is on the map.
  • Read More: 20 Easy Steps to Build a Community Garage Sale & Open House Tour (AND Your Blog)

This can be SUCH a fun event for your niche. (I am in the middle of putting together the 2nd Annual Greenhaven Garage Sale and Open House Tour.)

All together, you could easily take care of all of this for about $995. a year – or just $83. a month.

With our niche of 250 homes, and the effort that we put into it, we get several inquiries a month and about 4-6 great clients a year – both buyers and sellers. With an average sales price of about $275k, that is a great ROI.

I hope that these tips help you dominate YOUR geographic niche.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

Continue Reading
Advertisement
22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Vicki Moore

    June 5, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Totally awesome. Thanks! I’m putting some things on my to-do list for tomorrow.

  2. Mariana Wagner

    June 5, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Sweet … I believe that there are a lot of things that can be done, but these 5 things can really help lift-off. Have fun!

  3. Irina Netchaev

    June 5, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Mariana, all excellent ideas! I love the magnets. 🙂

  4. Ricardo Bueno

    June 5, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    One of the best things I’ve done in the past is a little door-to-door…(I should probably get back to it). It’s a great way to get in front of people and sometimes that’s exactly what we need; to get in front of more people. Sitting at the computer all day isn’t going to do it.

  5. Barry Cunningham

    June 5, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Good ideas, easy to implement and execute successfuly..somewhat of a guerilla marketing plan. Yes…prospecting IS marketing. Not all marketing is passive. Much of marketing can be proactive. This qualifies as being quite proactive.

    Most importantly you are giving yourself away as being very competent by saying you have a “business plan”…way cool!

  6. Susie Blackmon

    June 6, 2008 at 3:49 am

    Great suggestions… very NOW. Thank you.

  7. Eric Blackwell

    June 6, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Good insight Mariana…my only suggestion would be a time budget to calculate how much time you are investing and since time IS money, that is part of the the equation. but it does seems that most folks have more time than money right now.

    Thanks for a great post.

  8. Mariana Wagner

    June 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Irina – Thanks! I love the magnets … and so do my neighbors.

    Ricardo – Physically being in front of people is always a great idea.

    Barry – Thanks! … Regarding prospecting/marketing semantics: I just choose to draw the line between marketing and prospecting in a different area. I see my newsletter = marketing and me handing it to someone and asking for business = prospecting.

    Susie – Cool. Have fun!

    Eric – You are correct. Timeblocking is an excellent way to make sure that the time that you spend does produce a high ROI.

  9. Paula Henry

    June 6, 2008 at 9:54 am

    This is what I like – not just an idea – but a step by step action plan. Perfect Mariana!
    Do you know anyone who is working a larger area?

    As far as time-blocking – I would think much of this could be done by an assitant, right?

  10. Genuine Chris Johnson

    June 6, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Sigh. Most of this stuff isn’t prospecting. It’s lead generation to be sure, but that’s not prospecting. When we hijjack a word that has meaning and dilute it’s meaning, we make the language poorer for everyone.

  11. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

    The old saying of “jack of all trades, master of none” applies. Doing the generic “City real estate” sort of advertising is too broad for a lot of people. Many persons are looking for real estate agents that specialize in a specific area – as they feel that the person can provide more “real” local information about the neighborhood and community.

  12. Mariana Wagner

    June 6, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Paula – I am all about step-by-step layouts. It makes it easier to wrap my mind around things.
    Jennifer – The more “hyper-local” the better IMHO.

    Chris – Can you offer the exact definition of “prospecting” and its source? If I diluted a word that has a definitive meaning, I apologize, but am very interested in learning more.

    I have found these definitions:
    1. Going after “a potential or likely customer, client, etc.” … When going door-to-door in a geographic niche, I AM talking to potential or likely customers. (dictionary.com)
    2. THIS SITE gives me the impression that prospecting is a form of marketing that is actively going out and seeking potential customers… going directly to them. (Compared to traditional marketing which is passive “come to me” approach.)

  13. Jayson

    June 6, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Sounds like a great way to develop a lasting relationship and get your name out to a few hundred neighbors. The best part is that you can easily reach them several times a year in a few different ways without killing your budget…might get a few loyal readers too.

  14. Thomas Johnson

    June 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Mariana: This is the recipe I have been looking for! I can now add your special sauce to revise the web 2.0 portion of my business plan. It is so easy to get off track.

    @ Barry: I love your stuff on https://www.realestateradiousa.com and totally agree with your advocacy of agents having a business plan.
    Good weekend to all!

  15. Barry Cunningham

    June 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Thomas and thank you very much! Yes..I believe that all agents, if they intend on running a BUISNESS..should indeed have a business plan. Mariana seems to have hers in place and her idea here seems to be worth looking into.

    Need to figure out if it’s better to go with a section on a blog or a completely new site though.

  16. Mariana Wagner

    June 6, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Jayson – I JUST got a call (today) from a homeowner who moved to Denver and rented out their Greenhaven home. They thanked me for maintaining the neighborhood site, so they can always know what is going on in the market.

    Thomas – Yay! I hope it is useful for you.

  17. Bill Lublin

    June 7, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Mariana – I love this well structured and organized structure so much that I just emailed a link to this post to all of my managers with a request that they review it and use the material for coaching with their agents.
    Great job from @Mizzle 🙂

  18. Maureen Francis

    June 7, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I flippin failed the math thing twice by not entering anything and lost long comments. URGGGH How could I do that twice.

    I will give you the shortened version:

    Please do not show this to anyone in my market.

  19. Faina Sechzer

    June 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Mariana, this is: simple+brilliant= great ideas. Thanks a lot. Would it work in upscale neighborhoods (where neighbors could call police when they see some one unfamiliar)?

  20. Mariana Wagner

    June 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    WOW! Cool, Bill! I hope that they will get some use out of this. I am sick of the “great ideas with no way to implement them” kind of ideas. I figure … If I can figure out a step-by-step way to do things … why not share?

    Maureen – Would you like to send you some flash cards? LOL! You know … Honestly? I would wage a good bet that even if I DID send this to people in your market (which I wont) … they would either not follow it, or they would not pick the same area or tactics that you would. I think you’re safe!

    Faina – I would imagine that this WOULD work in an upscale neighborhood. However, I would consider these 2 things:
    1. Make sure you dress “one level above” the area demographic
    2. Make sure that the newsletters, etc. are on high quality paper

  21. Ken Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Mariana great post. Have a project in the works for one of my buyers agents that will incorporate some of these ideas. Thanks!

  22. Holly White

    June 16, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Mariana – Great advice! I love every idea you have here and if it’s done right and consistently, I’m sure it has/will produce amazing results! I can’t wait to implement them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

Published

on

video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

Published

on

Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

Published

on

Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!