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
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.
- 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)
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.
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.