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Smart Marketing: Makes All the Difference

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Dave Robison

By Dave Robison

The Average Marketing Scenario

A couple years ago a loan officer asked me a brilliant question that they should have asked themselves before they spent $30,000 on a failed marketing campaign. “Dave, I have had a billboard for the past year on I-15 and I don’t get any calls off of it.  What is going on?”  I sat there for awhile trying to think of his billboard and I couldn’t remember it.  Later that day it hit me. It took me all day to remember it.  The loan officer had a prime location with his name and phone number and his company name on it. It said something like “your loan officer” or “call me for a mortgage.”

His marketing wasn’t working.  He wasn’t getting any calls.  I had that same marketing plan before.  I had that same marketing on a moving van for three years. It was typical agent marketing that consists of: name, phone number, and how cool you are — it doesn’t work.  I rarely got any calls, and nobody knew who I was.  Then, I changed it and my business started to change.

There are two keys to smart marketing:

1. Can people remember you or  your marketing?

Have you ever heard that famous statistic that the average home buyer/seller forgets their agent’s name within six months? I tested it out once. I met someone who said they just bought their home four months ago with the president of the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®.  I said, “Ohhh, awesome! What is their name?”  Of course I knew their name, but I was wondering if the statistic really worked. They couldn’t remember. They said she is the president and surely I must know who they were talking about. Of course I knew, but how was this person going to recommend her to any of their friends and family?

Now lets talk about the loan officer’s billboard. After I drove by the sign, I couldn’t remember his phone number, name, or website. What a waste of money. His only chance of being remembered would have been if I wrote down his phone number the next time I saw the billboard, and kept it for when I had a need.  Fat chance at that.

So what did I do to change my marketing after unsuccessfully advertising on a moving van for three years? it came down to branding. First, I created a scene of a desert in the background with my picture on it, and a Web address: UtahDave.com.  Why in the world is there a desert when I’m trying to sell a home?  Because every agent has a home on their marketing materials. I wanted it to be different, and the desert scene goes with Utah.

I don’t think the desert is key to your success, it just happened to work for mine. Maybe if I was “AlaskaDave” I might have an igloo instead of a desert.  Geico has  a Gecko, and the last time I checked they don’t sell geckos. The main thing is finding a special branding or memorable image…just don’t be like everyone else and have a home be your background.

The proof is in the pudding.  I just got a listing appointment…and where did the listing come from? Off my billboard from two years ago! It’s been two years and they still remembered it and knew how to find me. They didn’t even need to write it down. It’s called mental real estate — you have to own some of that!

2. Do you have a call to action?

Many advertisements just say, “Las Vegas’s #1 REALTOR®”  or “Call me when you are thinking of buying or selling a home.” None of these are memorable, nor are they a call to action. If you want business, you have to motivate them to call you. So what did my billboard from two years ago say that helped motivate my new clients to call me?   It said, “Keep up with the Joneses? Just move into their foreclosure.” This call to action not only had my phone ringing, but it had people talking about it like wildfire. People were even talking about it over the pulpit in their churches. How many real estate agents’ marketing have had free church advertising like that? (Yes, I got cussed out a few times. Bringing emotion out of people is a sign of good marketing.)

Now, how do you come up with this stuff?  That will have to be another blog. In the meantime, if people remember your marketing when it’s gone, and if people are calling from your current marketing, then you have these two keys down. Otherwise, it’s time to rewrite your marketing plan and try again. Just don’t go too long like the loan officer did without changing it.

Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is a broker/owner of Robison & Company Real Estate.


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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: 2/25 Weekly Property Management News Roundup | Property Management Executive

  2. Dave, I enjoyed your article! Marketing your business takes active participation from the owner. You can’t just put up a billboard and call it good like your loan officer did. “Test and measure” are the keys that a marketing professional will tell you. Measurement is the tough part. The loan officer should have had a unique phone number for the billboard that he could track the call activity. Then change the ad like you suggested with changes to the graphics and text. There must be people driving I15 everyday who are buying a home and need a loan officer. And use a memorable number, something that’s easy to remember while driving by.

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