New Year's. A time to reflect on the past while planning for the future.
In the spirit of New Year's, I've put together this guide to help you prepare for a new year of marketing. So without further ado, here are ten ways that you - as a real estate agent - can improve your marketing in 2006.
1. Clarify our objectives.
What are you primary business objectives for 2006, and how does your marketing program support those objectives? If you have no idea, you've got work to do. If you have a rough idea, you need to refine it.
Without an overall objective, you're shooting arrows at a bunch of random targets. Your chances of success will be greater if you shoot your arrows at the same target.
Is your overall objective to have twice as many clients as last year? To venture out on your own? To increase the size of your farm area? Whatever it is, define it … on paper and in your mind. It should be with you every working day of 2006.
2. Set achievable goals.
Incremental goals are important, because they give you something to work for (and achieve) along the path to your overall objective. Be specific and realistic when setting your goals. Instead of saying “I want to increase my business during the first part of the year" … say “I want to gain six new clients by March 15. "
Be specific, and you'll know exactly what you must do. Be realistic, and you'll have a greater chance of achieving the goal - and enjoying the morale boost that comes from it.
3. Learn something new.
Make it a point to learn something new several times throughout the new year. Learn something new about your farm area and the people in it. Learn a new technology that can help you work smarter. Learn a new marketing tactic.
Combine these lessons with the goal-setting from #2. For instance, maybe you'll set a goal to learn about one new technology per quarter - electronic newsletters in February, websites in May, digital cameras in August, etc.
4. Take notes (or better notes) on each client.
Perhaps you've heard that referrals account for the majority of real estate business. It's true, if you have a good follow-up program. Because nothing generates referrals like good service and proper follow-up.
Taking notes about your clients makes the follow-up process easier and more effective. If you have a file on each client, you can dip into it for specific information when sending your follow-up emails. And nothing makes people feel special like being remembered!
5. Buy a book (and read it).
To improve your marketing, you must become a lifelong student. So make it a point to read at least one new marketing book in 2006. I know you're busy, but look at it this way. If a book runs 500 pages, and you give yourself all year to read it, that's less than a page-and-a-half per day. Hey, with a rate like that, why not make it four books?
6. Get motivated . . . again.
Repetition can drain your motivation. So as you move into the new year, revisit your initial reasons for becoming a real estate agent. What were your dreams then? What drew you to the profession? Remind yourself of those reasons, and focus on them. The dream justifies the routine. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself what the dream was in the first place.
7. Look backward while planning forward.
Marketing sometimes means making mistakes. And that's okay, as long as you learn from them. Going into the new year, take a moment to look back. What have you learned this year? How can you apply those lessons to your marketing as you move forward?
8. Improve one thing about everything.
This year, make it a point to improve at least one thing about everything. In other words, find a way to improve each part of your marketing.
If you have a website, add some helpful new content, or maybe organize the existing content. If you use direct mail, make it a point to build a stronger offer for your postcards. One improvement per item … you can do it!
9. Ask for help.
Marketing can be a lot of work. So don’t try to do it all yourself. That’s a fast track to exhaustion. Ask for help when you need it. That might mean hiring a professional for certain aspects of your marketing, or just seeking help from a marketing-minded friend.
10. Reward yourself.
Got a new client as the result of a direct mail campaign? Treat yourself to a nice dinner. Heck, order an expensive bottle of wine while you're at it. Don't be shy about celebrating your success.
If you work hard and gain something as a result of that hard work, you deserve a reward. Achieving goals without being rewarded will reduce your motivation to achieve similar goals in the future. So break out the bubbly once in a while. It's okay . . . really.
You don’t have to apply all ten of these tactics to your marketing. Just pick the ones you think you can best accomplish. The point is to improve the individual parts of your marketing program in order to strengthen the program as a whole. It's about growth and development.
I hope these ideas help you prepare for the new year, and I wish you every success going forward.
Copyright 2006, Brandon Cornett.
About the Author
Brandon Cornett is the author of "The Modern Guide to Real Estate Marketing" and the founder of ArmingYourFarming.com. To sign up for his free newsletter, or to read similar articles on real estate marketing, visit http://www.ArmingYourFarming.com .