Is your agent marketing you or themselves?

David Dorman

Marketing can be tricky for real estate agents. While many have the best of intentions for their sellers, many fail to see the bigger picture in what direction their marketing is heading in. When an agent first starts out, many times, their marketing is more to bolster their image and that’s about where it stops. Print advertising in magazines is really a market piece for them and not the seller.

The same is true about websites. Today, most homes are found online on the bigger websites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Since agents are forced in many cases to pay for their own marketing, they have to choose between marketing their listings or themselves. in the beginning, most agents end up choosing to promote themselves, which ultimately results in a lackluster marketing result for their selling clients. This is mostly out of a limited budget and having to make a choice.

Good marketing requires making calculated decisions and seeing a much bigger picture and knowing who you are really trying to reach. Ask most agents what they spend on marketing and you are likely to get a blank look. That’s because many don’t really have a budget or plan. Their way of marketing a new listing is to play it in MLS and perhaps a yard sign and hope for the best. To be fair, sometimes that is all it takes, however what happens next is crucial to get maximum exposure and often where agents refuse to spend money. They turn a blind eye to marketing giants that charge to promote their listing. You probably know this, but Zillow and Realtor.com do not sell homes. They market t hem. They make their money by taking agent generated listings and promoting them to the public. They take the leads they get and sell them back to the same agents who need buyers and sellers. This is exactly what most agents spend their money on. The leads and not the listing. What a true marketing agent will do, is spend money on these websites so that their listings get better exposure and that the leads generated go to them instead of an agent not familiar with the property. It really is a double edged sword in many ways like the old adage “which came first, the chicken or the egg” meaning you have to have a listing in order market it, but how do get the lead in the first place?

To say marketing in real estate is easy, would be a lie. It’s complicated and sadly there are so many agencies out there trying to get the advertising dollars of agents that are new or may be having a hard time reaching clients. I can personally tell you that I have tried just about everything and spent money on good things that I still use today, but have also wasted a TON of money on trends or simply lies about the ability of a certain marketing tool. If you want to get a good idea about an agents marketing for a listing, try googling one of their listings. See where it shows up and if their name is attached to it in full. You might be surprised. Whenever I go searching for a listing agent outside my area, I will start by looking up their listings and seeing where they hit and how they look. Remember, it’s not just what they pay for, but also what they do not pay for. If their photos are horrible, it won’t really matter if they pay to be on certain sites. If the listing looks bad, most people will just click through. Reviews are also important. These often indicate the quality of the agent. Agents who don’t have reviews may be hiding something. Happy selling!