If you’re an independent real estate agent without the backing of a large brokerage’s marketing and expenses fund, it pays to spend some time creating your own budget. In a commission-based industry, this can be difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here’s a few tips on how to get started.
Before you can determine a budget, you need to figure out exactly what you want to achieve. For example, some suggested key goals for becoming an effective real estate agent may include:
- Building brand awareness among potential clients in your local area
- Generating inbound leads for property appraisals and converting into sales
- Establishing yourself as a real estate expert who provides accurate, informative advice
- Cultivating a strong real-world reputation through an effective online presence on a variety of channels
- Creating and maintaining relationships with local homeowners, including prospective clients that own investment properties in the area but live elsewhere
How Much Should You Spend?
This will depend on a variety of factors. If you have a second career or a spouse with a large income, you may be able to spend a considerable amount on marketing. If you are operating on a razor-thin budget, however, you will want to invest wisely and play the long game, building your reputation up over time.
Ideally, you should have enough money saved to weather slow periods and downturns in the market. That said, even if you only have a little bit of money to spend, you can get started in small ways. Here’s how to prioritize your spending based on your available budget:
$2,000 or less: Start by hiring a copywriter to create your website bio. Pay a professional photographer to take high quality profile pictures and get a subscription to a client review website, such as Real Satisfied or RateMyAgent. If a professionally designed website isn’t in the budget, find a free template through a DIY website builder such as Wix, Weebly, WordPress.org or Squarespace.
$5,000 or less: If you have some extra money to spend, use it to create a professional profile video or digital interview in which you explain your distinct value proposition. Hire a digital marketer to help you establish social media profiles. Once everything is in place, take a social media training course to learn how to effectively engage and interact with prospective clients.
$10,000 or less: Hire an agency to create a professional website that’s optimized for search engines and mobile devices. Look into implementing a paid advertising campaign to attract targeted local traffic to your website. Read up on how to run a basic pay-per-click (PPC) Google AdWords campaign and experiment using small amounts of money until you start seeing increased engagement.
$20,000 or less: Identify an agency or content writer to create a blog featuring regularly published original content that frames you as a real estate expert. Sponsor your content on social media and create an email database for newsletters with calls-to-action that lead back to your website and content pages.
$40,000 or less: If you have a substantial marketing budget, allocate more money to paid advertising campaigns to increase visibility. You can also hire someone to create informative downloadable guides for sellers and buyers to host on your website. As you continue to build up marketing dollars, the best way to get the most out of your budget is to turn things over to a marketing agency who specializes in promoting real estate clients. Be sure to interview and vet several agencies to ensure they have the necessary marketing experience and expertise within the real estate industry.