Friday, January 2, 2015

Five Real Estate Expenses Burning a Hole in Your Pocket by Joshua Ferris

Five Real Estate Expenses Burning a Hole in Your Pocket   by Joshua Ferris

The real estate industry is one of the most profitable industries out there and the ones doing the profiting aren't always the agents. Real estate brokers and agents are continually bombarded with advertisements promising ways to make more money without having to lift a finger or brand yourself better.
Here's the thing: No amount of money is going to replace hard work and you won't have to feed the need for more expendable income if you cut down your costs and only pay for tools and services that give you a great ROI (return on investment).
Here are five products real estate agents/brokers buy that are a tremendous waste of money:
1) Magnetic Car Signs - I'm not sure who ever thought this was a good idea but putting your contact information on the outside of your car serves no useful purpose for two reasons.
First, if you're driving anywhere you will be doing between 30 - 55 mph and at that speed how many people do you think (realistically) will see your name, recognize that you are a real estate agent, contemplate using you for their real estate needs and then have the ability to write down your number or website address.
Even if you DID find someone who was interested in your service after seeing the sign what are you going to do if you see them following you for two miles in your rear view mirror? Probably try to evade them. Now they think you're a crazy driver and also don't have the last 2 digits of your phone number.
Which brings me to my second point: What if you cut someone off or somehow manage to upset someone on the road? Is putting your name, number and other personal info out there in the open really a good idea?
Magnetic car signs are a great idea for contractors, plumbers and similar service companies but you should save your $30 and use it for an Adwords campaign.
2) Third Party Website Vendors - I'm not writing off all real estate website vendors because I do think there are a handful of great website vendors like Real Estate Webmasters but for the most part you are going to overpay and receive a poorly designed, search engine unfriendly website.
In an upcoming series I will be showing you how to build your own real estate website for less than $500.
3) Lead Generation Websites - I've tried a few different lead generation websites and actually closed one home sale based on a lead I received but generally speaking you can spend the same $20-$40 that you would spend on each lead to promote your website via PPC (Pay Per Click) and still yield more qualified leads than what you would receive from a lead generation website.
Tip: If you don't want to get involved in search engine PPC (which can run hundreds of dollars a month if you're not careful) you may want to consider advertising on heavily trafficked real estate search engines utilizing an inexpensive advertisement subscription model.
4) Newsletter Services with Recycled/Generic Follow-Up Letters - I often receive unsolicited emails from trainers in my Keller Williams office that are generically written (pre-written) newsletters provided by the company they pay $X dollars a month to send them. I don't read them and the chances are your prospects don't read them either.
Instead, sit down and write (or pay someone to write) a custom list of newsletter emails that relate directly to your lead's needs. For example, say a lead inquires about active adult communities in your neighborhood that they'd like to see 12 months from now. By developing your own follow up email set for active adult buyers you are going to have a higher conversion ratio than you would with, say, a generic "Hi Mr. Buyer" and/or recipes email.
Tip: A great, inexpensive service to use for your email follow up with real estate leads is Aweber. It's used by leading businesspeople in many industries and you can take it for a free test drive by visiting the link above.
5) Recipe Cards and Unrelated Direct Mail Marketing Pieces - I'm all about branding oneself but branding yourself through marketing materials unrelated to your business is not smart branding. If you are going to do direct mail marketing consider what you are asking the recipient to do. Do you want them to bake cookies? Because that's what a recipe card mailer implies.
Keep your marketing focused by sending real estate market reports and buying/selling tips that will prove useful to your prospect should they need your services.
By holding your real estate expenses accountable you will begin to notice what efforts are generating the most business for you and what's just burning a hole in your pocket.

About the Author

Joshua Ferris is an associate real estate broker in Orange County NY and specializes in both Monroe New York andNewburgh New York real estate. Be sure to visit Josh's Monroe New York real estate guide and Orange County NY Real Estate website.

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