Market Your Real Estate Business Like It’s 2016

Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

By Ryan Fitzgerald

This isn’t 1999, so why are you still marketing like it is?

There are two methods to market your real estate business online: chase or attract. You can either chase your online leads or attract them.

Chasing Business Online

Have you ever received an e-mail that you didn’t ask for? An e-mail that was obviously an attempt to solicit you, which was sent to your personal inbox without your permission?

How did that make you feel?

@Yoel, 2014. Morguefile

@Yoel, 2014. Morguefile

Spamming prospects’ e-mails with drip campaigns or their Facebook inboxes with solicitations is what I consider chasing leads. Agents who spam their listings on people risk losing credibility and business. It’s intrusive, it’s a shortcut, and it’s an invasion of privacy.

If you want to risk your business playing a short term game, then this strategy might work for you. But there are a lot of cons with this approach. You risk losing a lot of unrealized opportunity because you’re going to annoy a lot of people along the way. Plus, Facebook is now giving its users the ability to turn the chat/messaging feature “off” for certain people without unfriending them.

Attracting Business Online

Attracting prospects requires a lot more effort, creativity, and patience. This method is a long term play. You need to begin with the end in mind. It’s not going to happen overnight, and you are not going to make as much money in the early stages as those who opt for the short term chase. But the skills you learn from attracting people to do business with you will help you grow fruitful in the long term.

Attracting prospects requires you to be out in front of them at the exact moment they need you. You can do this by creating, publishing, and sharing valuable content that is going to help consumers.

How to Attract Real Estate Leads

Give and expect nothing in return. Build up a library of valuable content on your blog or website that helps consumers in your market. Create a great experience for them whenever they see your brand name online.

Just keep one thing in mind: This takes time.

I almost gave up on this method when I first started out. After six months of publishing blog articles, YouTube videos, infographics, and more, I had little to show for all that content. Other people were having a lot of success around me. Veteran agents told me to get back on the phones. I almost did.

But I stuck it out. In August and September, I was receiving three to four leads each day, only I was requiring people to give me their information to use my website. For every three or four people who were willing to be forced into registration, I was probably losing eight to 10 people who would never come back.

Unforced Registration for Real Estate Leads

Today, I use a new approach: unforced registration. I currently get about 300 people on my real estate website daily who search homes for sale in Raleigh, or come to learn about the real estate industry through my blog articles, infographics, and videos. About one to two visitors willingly give me their information on a daily basis without being forced to do so. These are solid prospects. When a person chooses to reach out as opposed to being forced to make contact, it strengthens the initial relationship.

I realize that 300 people per day isn’t a lot, especially when you compare that to some of the big real estate websites. Just keep in mind that every real estate website starts at zero visitors per day and grows over time through hard work.

At this time last year, I didn’t have a website.

Whether you use YouTube, Facebook, or any other online marketing methods to attract people to your real estate business, you’re going to begin at zero. Exponential growth starts small by nature.

There’s No Overnight Success in Real Estate

Your end goal needs to be clear before you start your real estate business, and everything you do needs to be intentionally directed towards that goal. This is also relevant for seasoned agents who are making tweaks to their yearly business plan.

Be patient and work harder than everyone else. When everyone else is taking a day off, it’s your opportunity to push ahead of them.

I also highly recommend that you check out Gary Vaynerchuk‘s highly entertaining YouTube channel for lessons in business growth.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this quote: “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Ryan Fitzgerald is the owner of Raleigh Realty in Raleigh, N.C. Connect with him on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest.

  1. Michael Wilson

    Great article! This helps a lot as I grow my brand!

  2. Another article knocked out of the park Ryan! Such a great topic, and honestly, one I needed to read tonight. As a Realtor who is new to content/attraction marketing, I do get frustrated and discouraged. But hearing your story and how you too went through the same frustrations is very reassuring and empowering to me.

    Here’s a great analogy I heard from Sean Whalen about chasing vs attracting business. Are we being a lighthouse, or a tugboat? They each have the same purpose: to save lives and keep ships safe. The tugboat goes out and grabs boats, one by one, and brings them back to safety. But a lighthouse- a lighthouse just stands there, holding its ground, and shines it’s light. To your point about having the end goal in mind; we need to be conscious every day about whether we are being the tugboat (chasing business) or the lighthouse (attracting business to us).

  3. 300 views per day?! That is fantastic! We are getting about 800 per week. I’m impressed.

  4. Thank you, Mike, Dustin, and Leanne!

    Dustin you’re absolutely right and that is the hardest part. There’s a ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel to play on your analogy 🙂

    Leanne, 800/week is terrific!

  5. I’m curious how you reconcile the unforced registration with section 19.3 of the VOW rules for MLSs? My understanding is that we are required to get a name, email address, verify the address, have username/password, and have them acknowledge a Terms of Use. Am I reading it wrong?

  6. Very informative article. It addresses some common mistakes people make in digital marketing. Many fail to realize that merely having an online presence is not enough to attract prospects. In a day and age where anyone can get a website up and running, it is important to have content and strategy that compels – not forces – the audience to visit.

  7. Henry Carmona

    Great article! Exactly how i wish to grow my business!

    Thank you.

  8. Nice job Ryan. As we have discussed most real estate agents don’t know how to use social media to their benefit. The first thing every agent wants to do is dump their listings into social channels. A sure fire recipe for no success.

  9. Good article Ryan. I think the patience part is the most overlooked… this strategy takes TIME!

  10. Great post, Ryan. It reminds me of a quote that has been around — in various forms — that essentially says: “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

  11. Ryan Fitzgerald

    Thank you, all!

    Patience is certainly the hardest for me, Eric!

    We are doing over 400/day now though 🙂

  12. Ryan Fitzgerald

    Love that quote, Tony!
    I’ve seen it before I believe it may have even be on a Gary V photo talking about entrepreneurship.
    Thanks for reading my friend!!

  13. Really nice article Ryan & Quite on Point … I’m really interested in your, and others, responses to Sean’s comments RE: The possible MLS’s Terms of Use violations?

    @BillGassett you probably have an educated perspective on that? Is it possible? & if so, would it ever really be enforced?

    Take Care

  14. This is my favorite blog post I have read this year! Such an important message.

  15. Ryan Fitzgerald

    You are ABSOLUTELY right, Bill!

    Thank you @ The Coach 🙂

    Patty that comment just made my day, thank you!

  16. Good Read, the real take away and I have been told the same thing by 2 other successful Realtors is that don’t force the registration!

  17. This is a great article! Attracting buyers is always better than chasing them.

  18. Eddie

    What’s the conversion rate you’ve had in the past year? (From unforced-lead to closed transaction)

  19. Ryan Fitzgerald

    Glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for reading!

    Great point, Melissa! – I think I just connected the dots. Ray reached out to introduce himself on Facebook the other day. He saw a video interview I did with EAP and mentioned we have similar backgrounds :)! Love your site

    Eddie, tough one to answer as my site has not been around for a full year. The first 6 months I didn’t see many organic leads – it was paid for leads through PPC (Google/Facebook).

    Now I don’t pay a thing, and my leads are all organic.

    If you want a measurable stat, my website alone is generating 2-3 new face to face meetings/week. Hope that helps!

  20. Great info, I have just change my website from forced to view the first property to required registration on the fourth property. Can someone please share how changing registration requirements have affected their sales?

  21. Forced registration works about the same as sending emails to people who do not want them. Popups are similar. Let people use the real estate site without having to register and some serious ones will contact you.

  22. I love this post !! I got lots of ideas from here. My personal thinking, if you want to grow your business you can follow this article.

  23. Great article, Ryan. We are kindred spirits when it comes to our site and building organic traffic, it seems. I have bounced around the idea of unforced registrations and think I will give it shot. Thanks!

  24. Great stuff, Jeff — It takes a full year to see the ROI on that strategic decision but it’s worth it… I’ve never looked back 🙂